LexisNexis Versus Westlaw Survey Results


Below are summary findings from the LexisNexis versus Westlaw survey that we conducted between April 25, 2008 and May 5, 2008.  The complete survey results are available as part of our Legal Research Paper Series.

The first question asked participants to identify where they work by library type.  Forty-eight percent of respondents were from law firm libraries, thirty-one percent were from academic law libraries, and court, county and other libraries were represented by much smaller numbers.  The full breakdown for this question is seen in Figure 1. 

For all respondents that worked in law firm libraries, the survey instrument then prompted these respondents to describe the size of their firm (see Figure 2).  Over seventy-five percent of the respondents work in large law firms with over 100 lawyers.  And, almost a quarter of the respondents work in offices with over 700 attorneys.

Question three for the law firm respondents asked if their library/firm provided access to both Westlaw and LexisNexis (see figure 3).  Eighty-four percent of the respondents said that their library/firm does provide access to both systems.  The comments provided by respondents to that question included statements such as: “my library canceled Lexis in 2006″ or “we are a Westlaw shop.”  The full text of the comments provided appears at Appendix C.

The next question asked the law firm librarian respondents: If a law school could only subscribe to and train law students on one CALR system, which one would you prefer?  Seventy-three percent of the respondents answered that Westlaw was the preference (see figure 4).

Question five asked if law schools were to only provide access to LexisNexis, would the lack of training on KeyCite be a problem.  Question six asked the similar question: if law schools were to only provide access to Westlaw, would the lack of training on online Shepard’s be a problem.  And, for both question five and six, over two-thirds of the law firm library respondents felt that it would not be a problem (see figures 5 and 6).  For question five, thirty-one percent of the law firm library respondents felt that the lack of KeyCite training would be a problem, and for question six, twenty-seven percent of the law firm library respondents felt that the lack of online Shepard’s training would be a problem.  The comments provided by law firm library respondents to questions five and six appear in Appendix D and E, respectively.

In question seven, respondents were asked which other online databases that they would like to have taught in law school.  For the law firm library respondents, eighty percent wanted training provided on PACER, and fifty-eight percent wanted training provided on BNA and CCH (see figure 7).  Free resources, such as Justia and LexisOne were also chosen by the law firm respondents.  Seventy-three respondents supplied names of other online databases that they would like to see taught in law school.  The list of these other responses appears in Appendix F.

Question three for the academic law school library respondents asked if their library provided access to both Westlaw and LexisNexis (see figure 8).  All but one of the respondents said that their library does provide access to both systems.  The comments provided by respondents to that question included statements such as: “Though we, too, are starting to think about cancel [sic] one of these systems” and “we provide access to both”.  The full text of the comments provided appears at Appendix G.

The next question asked the law school library respondents: If a law school could only subscribe to and train law students on one CALR system, which one would you prefer?  While seventy-three percent of the law firm respondents answered that Westlaw was the preference (see figure 4), fully eighty-nine percent of the law school library respondents replied that Westlaw was their preference (see figure 9).

Question five asked if law schools were to only provide access to LexisNexis, would the lack of training on KeyCite be a problem.  Question six asked the similar question: if law schools were to only provide access to Westlaw, would the lack of training on online Shepard’s be a problem.  And, for both question five and six, over forty percent of the law school library respondents felt that it would be a problem (see figures 10 and 11).  For question five, while sixty-nine percent of the law firm library respondents felt that the lack of KeyCite training would not be a problem (figure 5), forty-one percent of the law school library respondents replied that it would be a problem (figure 10).  And, for question six, forty-seven percent of the law school library respondents felt that the lack of online Shepard’s training would be a problem (figure 11).  The comments provided by law school library respondents to questions five and six appear in Appendix H and I, respectively.

In question seven, respondents were asked which other online databases that they would like to have taught in law school.  For the law school library respondents, seventy-three percent wanted training provided on PACER, and seventy percent wanted training provided on BNA (see figure 12).  While thirty percent of the law firm library respondents wanted LoisLaw taught in law school (see figure 7), over fifty percent of the law school library respondents wanted LoisLaw taught.  Twenty-two percent of the law school library respondents supplied names of other online databases that they would like to see taught in law school.  The list of these other responses, including HeinOnline and CaseMaker, appears in Appendix J. 

Question three asked respondents if their library provided access to both Westlaw and LexisNexis.  For the group of State/County/Federal Court and Government library respondents; corporate library respondents; academic non-law respondents and other library respondents (collectively referred to as “all other library respondents” going forward), sixty-nine percent provide access to both Westlaw and LexisNexis (see figure 13).  Also, all federal court and government library respondents provide access to both Westlaw and Lexis, while a quarter of the state court and government library respondents do not provide access to both systems.  The full text of the comments provided by all other library respondents appears at Appendix K.

The next question asked all other library respondents: If a law school could only subscribe to and train law students on one CALR system, which one would you prefer?  Seventy percent of the group of all other library respondents answered that Westlaw was the preference (see figure 14).  And, within this group, eighty-one percent of the federal court and government library respondents preferred Westlaw and sixty-five percent of the state/county court and government library respondents preferred Westlaw.

Question five asked if law schools were to only provide access to LexisNexis, would the lack of training on KeyCite be a problem.  Question six asked the similar question: if law schools were to only provide access to Westlaw, would the lack of training on online Shepard’s be a problem.  And, for question five, seventy-five percent of the group of all other library respondents felt that the lack of training on KeyCite would not be a problem (see figures 15).  For question six, sixty-five percent of the group of all other library respondents felt that the lack of online Shepard’s training would not be a problem (figure 16).  The comments provided by law school library respondents to questions five and six appear in Appendix L and M, respectively.

In question seven, respondents were asked which other online databases that they would like to have taught in law school.  For the group of all other library respondents, seventy-four percent wanted training provided on PACER, and twenty-eight percent wanted training provided on FastCase (see figure 17).  Twenty-four percent of the group of all other law library respondents supplied names of other online databases that they would like to see taught in law school.  The list of these other responses appears in Appendix N. 

The last four survey questions asked all respondents about overall preferences and comments about both LexisNexis and Westlaw.  Question 8 asked all respondents: “Do you have a personal preference for one system, Westlaw or LexisNexis, over the other?”  And, sixty-five percent of the respondents had a personal preference (see Figure 18). 

Question 9 then asked the respondents which system they preferred, if they had a preference. Thirty-two percent of all respondents said that LexisNexis was their personal preference, and sixty-eight percent provided that Westlaw was their preference (see Figure 19).  Of the respondents who preferred LexisNexis, sixty-four percent of this group was comprised of law firm library respondents and twenty-one percent was made up of law school library respondents.  And, for the group that preferred Westlaw, forty-four percent of this group was from law firm library respondents and thirty-nine percent was from law school library respondents. 

The law school library respondents preferred Westlaw at a rate of nearly four-to-one, and seventy-eight percent of the federal court/government respondents preferred Westlaw.  And, sixty percent of the law firm respondents preferred Westlaw over LexisNexis.  Of the library communities of respondents, no single group preferred LexisNexis over Westlaw. 

Question ten asked respondents to state why they had a preference between Westlaw and LexisNexis.  These responses appear at Appendix O.  Question 11 asked respondents to supply “any additional comments or practical tips that you would like to share with regard to LexisNexis vs. Westlaw.”  The comments generated by Question 11 appear in Appendix P.

We would like to encourage all to read the comments found in the 94-page survey results compilation; there is truly some fascinating information there.

If you have any questions about the survey or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact either one of us. 

Paul Lomio, plomio@stanford.edu

Erika Wayne, evwayne@stanford.edu

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3 thoughts on “LexisNexis Versus Westlaw Survey Results

  1. Pingback: LexisNexis Versus Westlaw - Update « Legal Research Plus

  2. Pingback: Learning one CALR system only « Legal Research Plus

  3. Pingback: PACER Spending Survey « Legal Research Plus

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