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A comparison between WestLaw and Lexis Nexis for a law student

LexisNexis and WestLaw are both amazing online legal research platforms used by legal professionals and students alike. They both offer wide range of legal information, including case law, statutes, regulations, legal news and more, helping their users stay up to date and on top of their game in the legal field. But which one of them is the better one for you, are there any differences that can determine that? Below are the most notable ones to help you find out.

When looking for the right legal database to use, you should always consider if its content itself fits your needs at all. WestLaw is known for its strong focus on U.S. legal materials. It offers case law and regulations from multiple jurisdictions and secondary sources, but mainly localised to the USA. LexisNexis on the other hand is particularly recognized for its broad coverage of international and business law. It also exclusively includes extensive litigation analytics tool to put all the information in context and perspective.

With such a vast amount of content in front of you, you will naturally need to navigate through it as easily as possible. Both platforms provide excellent user-friendly interface and advanced search capabilities, LexisNexis being on the slightly more modern and fancier looking side allowing users to conduct more complex searches using various filters and connectors. WestLaw chooses to favour efficiency and relevant results. You can find both databases online on their respective webpages or use mobile phone apps that compress them into your pocket. LexisNexis provides the user with an ultimate app for all devices that includes its full digital library. WestLaw app is available only for iOS devices, but it includes a wider range of products enriching a simple library with features such as statutes and regulations comparisons or overruling alerts.

Thankfully, as a student, you most likely won’t have to worry about the cost of access to either of the platforms, because your university might provide you with it for free. Just consult your faculty’s official webpage or your representative for training or support. Keep in mind though, the amount of content you get might vary because the monthly fee depends on many factors such as level of access, the extent of content needed, length of subscription etc. Some universities might also provide access only within the physical library or on-campus network, while others might offer remote access as well. Additionally, the level of access might depend on the user's role within the faculty.

And in the end, it comes to personal preference that is entirely up to you. Both platforms excel in their own way. If you can, best to give them both a chance or even better use them both next to each other. Either of them for their respective reasons.