Westlaw Precision for courts makes it easier to make confident decisions quicker

Westlaw Precision was launched last year to assist legal researchers in finding the correct information faster and more confidently. To learn more about Westlaw Precision and how it helps courts to operate more efficiently and to deliver on their promise to fairness and accessibility to justice, we spoke to Mark Baker (one of Thomson Reuters’ lead product developers).

What’s at risk for judges and staff in legal research?

Mark Baker: Judges, their staff, and counsel must ensure they have located all relevant precedents and do this as efficiently and effectively as possible. They must also know if each authority they find is still good law.

What does Westlaw Precision do to help researchers make sure that a case remains good law?

Mark Baker: Citators could not identify what was in an overruled case and only indicated issues. Westlaw Precision now includes KeyCite Overruled In Part. This tool quickly surfaces relevant language from an overruling decision and shows you the point of law invalidated in a particular case. This tool allows courts and staff to quickly determine if a party is relying upon a still good issue.

How can Westlaw Precision help you save time and improve legal research quality?

Mark Baker: Westlaw Precision now includes several new features, including Precision Research and KeyCite Cite With.

Over 250 attorneys and editors created Precision Research. We added them to our editorial team to classify and mark up case law in more helpful ways for our customers. Precision Research dramatically improves the speed and quality of research by allowing lawyers to pinpoint exactly what they are searching for. This includes legal issues, issue outcomes and fact patterns, motion types, motion outcomes, causes and actions, party types, and more. Precision Research users could find relevant cases twice as fast as traditional search methods. More than 100 lawyers participated in the test, and 95% said Precision Research helped them find issues they wouldn’t have otherwise.

KeyCite Cite With allows customers to search for similar cases, even if they are not cited in the same issue.

How can Westlaw Precision help researchers track their research trail?

Mark Baker: Westlaw Precision now offers a Graphical View of History. Customers can see their research history and identify documents they have spent the most time reviewing. This saves them time when retracing previous research.

What are the risks of using a less specific legal research tool?

Mark Baker: Judges and staff who use a less precise tool for legal research may take longer to find relevant authorities and spend more time doing so.

Why is Westlaw Precision important for courts?

Mark Baker: Judges and staff must balance the need to identify relevant precedents with limited resources. Westlaw Precision makes it easier for court researchers to find applicable law faster and gives them greater assurance that essential decisions are noticed. Many court systems already use Westlaw Precision to enhance the quality and efficiency of their legal research. This results in a better experience for litigants, their attorneys, the courts, and staff.

Judges and staff need the right tools to speed up decisions and reduce court delays.

Judges and staff can feel more confident in their legal analysis and decision-making process 

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