The 'Next' Generation: Measuring First-Year Student Response to WestlawNext

18 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2011 Last revised: 29 Oct 2012

Date Written: January 21, 2011


When Thomson Reuters debuted its WestlawNext legal research platform over a year ago, many predicted that law students would prove to be the biggest fans of this 'Google-ized' version of Westlaw. And in the nine months that the Next platform has been available to law students, anecdotal evidence has suggested that students are indeed abandoning the two major traditional platforms (Westlaw and Lexis) in mass numbers. However, no empirical study has confirmed this trend.

In this study, I survey the 385 first-year J.D. students at the University of Texas School of Law to determine which online resource each uses most often. Results indicate that the majority of students are using WestlawNext most of the time. When one considers that very few practitioners even have access to WestlawNext, the implications for the effective preparation of law students for the workplace are considerable.

In this paper, I review the results of my survey and consider some of the implications of those results. I close by offering suggestions for further research.

Note: Paper is still in preliminary form. All data subject to final verification. Please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions. Thank you.

Keywords: WestlawNext, Westlaw Next, Westlaw, Lexis, legal research, law students

Suggested Citation

Kinzer, Lisa D., The 'Next' Generation: Measuring First-Year Student Response to WestlawNext (January 21, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

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