Android Lawyer App Review: WestlawNext

I’m pretty sure those of us who graduated law school in the age of technology, injected ourselves with the Westlaw and LexisNexis “crack” in our law school experience. If you didn’t, you’re too old to remember digitized legal research (cue the “I walked 10 miles” comments), or you’re probably like one of my curmudgeon teachers who refuses to “modernize.” Well, if you’re hooked on Westlaw, I’m pretty sure you’ll be excited about Thompson-Reuters’ newest product, WestlawNext for Android (free).

West gave me a username and password which I used to research all those cases I’m missing for free gave me access to the full Westlaw database. For the first time in a long time, I felt like a “big time” lawyer.

The WestlawNext Android app is deliberately well-designed, despite my initial concerns about a non-tablet friendly app because of the “mobile style” sign-on screen. My initial thought on seeing the miniaturized tablet screen was, “ugh, another one of these apps.”

Really though, after the first initial two or three pages, the app translated the pages fully and correctly.

Thankfully, everything else ran perfectly in the application. The tablet version translated nicely, and of course, the app ran well on my Droid Bionic. I think lawyers will love some of the features in the app, especially the ability to email PDF documents straight from the application, with a couple quick clicks.

You’ll find that WestlawNext is pretty similar to the Westlaw site, and obviously depending on your plan, offers a substantial number of resources.

Pricing is always one of the things I’m quite concerned about, which I’m sure will dissuade many attorneys from using this product. I think for many solos or small firms, $139 per month for some products (here’s another review/point of view), will be a turn-away point. Sure, it’s nice to access the Westlaw information, but if I really needed the research I’d hire a law student to “clerk”, I can access Westlaw from my county law library or law school.

Overall, Westlaw has given Android lawyers a great product, but unfortunately, pricing may put them out of the market. If you can look beyond the somewhat steep price tag, WestlawNext for Android is going to be helpful, especially to those on-the-go attorneys.

 

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.