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Westlaw is Free in Some Places – But Why Not Everywhere?

by Carolyn Elefant on January 19, 2005 · 6 comments

in Legal Research and Writing, Legal Research Options

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AJ Levy of http://www.outoftheboxlawyering.com lists a bunch of libraries in several states (AK, MN, NV, NJ, NY, OH, TX and WA) where you can access Westlaw for free.  I was happy to learn about this resource though clearly, it’s cheaper for me to sign up for Westlaw on a per-search basis than to travel to New York to get it for free.  But even more, my same burning question remains:  why aren’t LEXIS and Westlaw free in every single law library in the country?  It’s not as if paying customers (like large law firms) will give up their LEXIS service because it’s free at a law school library.  Most lawyers enjoy the convenience of LEXIS on their desktop too much to travel to get it free.  The only people who’d benefit from free LEXIS and Westlaw are attorneys who don’t have the service to begin with – and the reason they don’t is because they can’t afford it.

  • http://razorbacklawyer.blogspot.com Shaun

    You can add Tennessee to the list. The Court House library in Memphis provides private rooms with free Westlaw. I know of at least on start-up solo who is uses it often for his research. I agree that Westlaw will not lose any discernable profits and any they do “lose” initially will be negligible compared to the good will and market presence they would gain from providing a free service.

  • http://razorbacklawyer.blogspot.com Shaun

    You can add Tennessee to the list. The Court House library in Memphis provides private rooms with free Westlaw. I know of at least on start-up solo who is uses it often for his research. I agree that Westlaw will not lose any discernable profits and any they do “lose” initially will be negligible compared to the good will and market presence they would gain from providing a free service.

  • Mary Whisner

    Carolyn,
    This is waaaaaay old, but I just saw your post.
    The answer? Because it’s not free to the law libraries! We have considered offering Westlaw to the public but it’s too darn expensive. A county law library or academic law library that chooses to make it available has to pay for it.
    — Mary

  • Mary Whisner

    Carolyn,
    This is waaaaaay old, but I just saw your post.
    The answer? Because it’s not free to the law libraries! We have considered offering Westlaw to the public but it’s too darn expensive. A county law library or academic law library that chooses to make it available has to pay for it.
    — Mary

  • Jrichard1952

    I am retired and would love to get lexis or westlaw for free. i love the law.

  • Jrichard1952

    I would love to get lexis or westlaw for free.there must be an outlet for retired.I am a retired court officer. love the law.

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