We are all aware of the perils of poor electronic legal research skills. Whether it is the story of the summer associate who was not asked to return to the plumb job for dipping too deep into the Lexis® service budget or the firm librarian's challenge in negotiating a favorable contract with Westlaw® based upon prolonged use of the program by associates reading the daily New York Times, we have all heard of ways the misuse of electronic legal resources has challenged those engaged in legal practice.
Though Westlaw® and Lexis® service provide us with sophisticated functionality that can ease the pain of legal research, these systems do not necessarily provide the most cost efficient means of conducting research. You may think that using them makes better use of your time, which necessarily results in savings to your clients, but remember, you will bill for the time you invest in electronic researching, in addition to the cost of the research, and if you have not developed a strategy to search effectively, you may incur increased research costs and additional man hours.
This lesson will help you avoid the pitfalls of poor research strategy when using Lexis® service and Westlaw® and briefly introduce you to some cost-saving alternatives.