Find More Relevant Cases in Less Time With Westlaw Precision
December 21, 2022
Westlaw Precision is a legal research service that reduces the time needed to find relevant cases thanks to a major editorial undertaking to classify cases using new legal attributes and a design that lets you know each case's relevance in the search results. Read our new TechnoLawyer Buyer's Guide report below.
Find More Relevant Cases in Less Time With Westlaw Precision and Its Lawyer-Powered Precision Research Technology
In the 19th century, the West Key Number classification system made book-based legal research faster and more precise. Westlaw Precision aims to do the same for online research in the 21st century by combining a new classification system with modern search technologies. Precision Research, one of six new features, addresses three common problems with search results— irrelevant cases, relevant cases that don't appear because the search terms don't match, and the time it takes to skim each case to assess its relevance.
The Killer Feature
Westlaw Precision classifies cases using new "Precision Attributes," which include areas of law, legal issues and issue outcomes, fact patterns, causes of action, motion types and outcomes, party type, and material facts.
You can search this annotated content using the Precision Research template on the home page. After entering legal terms, Westlaw Precision surfaces matching attributes that you can include in your search. As you make these selections, Westlaw Precision lists the number of cases with a breakdown by outcome. You can exclude outcomes not of interest to you. Westlaw Precision also supports traditional Boolean searches using the main search box, after which you can apply Precision Filters, essentially working in reverse.
Regardless of your search method, each case in your search results with these new attributes features a Browse Box that takes all the guesswork out of case evaluation. The Browse Box frames the most relevant legal issue in the case as a question and answer, and lists the legal issue, material facts, causes of action, and motion types and outcomes. The Browse Box also links to other cases in your jurisdiction with the same legal issue, ensuring you won't miss anything.
How well does Precision Research work? In August 2022, Thomson Reuters compared its own products by asking lawyers to use Westlaw Edge and Westlaw Precision to conduct research tasks. On average, Westlaw Precision users found twice the number of relevant cases in half the time. Nearly all the participating lawyers reported higher quality and faster results with Westlaw Precision.
"With Westlaw Precision, what we are hearing from our attorneys is that they can still get that same quality answer, same quality response, the same strategic direction that they need to provide to their clients, but in half the time," says Meredith Williams-Range, Chief Knowledge & Client Value Officer at Shearman & Sterling LLP.
The Browse Box in the Westlaw Precision search results saves time by letting you know the relevance of each case at a glance, including the legal issue, material facts, and outcome.
Other Notable Features
More than 250 lawyers comprise the team at Thomson Reuters classifying federal and state case law. Meanwhile, the artificial intelligence team has bought improvements to KeyCite in Westlaw Precision. For example, "KeyCite Cited With" identifies co-citations — cases often cited alongside a relevant case you like but which do not cite one another. This can help you see how a legal issue has evolved over time. Also new, "KeyCite Overruled in Part" shows you which part of a case was overruled, freeing you to use other sections that remain good law.
Westlaw Precision offers new tools to manage your search sessions. As you find relevant cases, you can add them to a "Keep List" that you can summon anytime for downloading, sharing, etc. You can also "hide" cases, which collapses them to a minimized view in the search results. The "Graphical View" lists all your search activity, including the elapsed time of each step.
What Else Should You Know?
Westlaw Precision includes an Outline Builder, enabling you to draft a research outline in less time than using a word processor. Drag and drop quotations and the citations come along with them, add headings and notes, and customize the formatting. When finished, export the outline as a Word document.
Take a Closer Look at Westlaw Precision
Meet Neil J. Squillante
Neil J. Squillante founded TopLaw and serves as its publisher. As a young litigator working on a high-profile trial, Neil witnessed the discrepancy between what happened in the courtroom and what the media reported. Neil created TopLaw to provide fellow lawyers and law firm personnel with reliable information. Many consider TopLaw newsletters the only ones they need. Previously, Neil practiced commercial litigation at Am Law 100 firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law and his B.A. from Duke University. At UCLA, Neil served as a Managing Editor of UCLA Law Review.
Subscribe to TechnoLawyer