The results of the Dewey B Strategic 2020-2021  Hits and Misses Survey are in. Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate in the survey.

The demographics. The survey was conducted  from February 16th through March 1st 2021. There were 101 respondents. The respondents described their professional positions as follows: 81% librarians/knowledge managers), 11% law firm management, 5% IT professionals, 3% practicing attorneys, 1% data scientists.

As usual I have asked readers to identify the best new products in several categories including news, analytics, workflow. Readers also provided the names of products they plan to cancel or acquire. I could not ignore the defining issue of 2020 – so I asked a series of questions about the performance of legal publishers in response to COVID.

What was the most significant development in legal technology/publishing?

I love and respect my readers but I don’t always agree with them. I have to admit I was truly shocked that readers selected the  shuttering of Ross Intelligence the most significant development of 2020. Here’s why— frankly I only know a handful of firms that had purchased Continue Reading The Results Are In: Dewey B Strategic What’s Hot and What’s Not Part 1: Westlaw Edge vs Lexis+ vs. Law Firm Budgets

Thomson Reuters has introduced Quick Check Judicial, a new Westlaw Edge feature within Quick Check. Although this new AI-based feature was designed for judges  it will also drive lawyer efficiency. Quick Check Judicial  allows users to upload multiple briefs or memos from a single matter to surface highly relevant authority that neither party included.  It also identifies which citations are cited by both parties or only one party and conducts and automated review of citations and quotations. 

  Quick Check Judicial provides the standard Quick Check efficiencies: checking validity and accuracy of citations and quotations. The comparison of multiple documents is a force multiplier which enables judges and lawyers to see a single report listing: authority relied on by both parties, providing a view into any overlap or divergence; finding relevant cases cited by neither party  and identify quotation discrepancies. 

Quick Check Judicial Outputs

The press release provides insights from a retired judge. Justice Randy J. Holland, retired, Delaware Supreme Court, noted the value Quick Check Judicial provides. “From a judge’s point of view, you want to be confident that you understand each party’s position and you want to be confident that you understand the state of the law. Quick Check Judicial allows you to do that efficiently and accurately.” 

Quck Check Report – Relevant Cases Excluded by Both Parties

  “In our conversations with customers, they reiterated the importance of ensuring that nothing is missed or omitted in their own documents, but maybe even more importantly knowing what different information was or was not used by opposing counsel,” said Carol Jo Lechtenberg, senior director, Westlaw Product Management. “Quick Check Judicial delivers that insight and more, all while saving a substantial amount of time for lawyers but proving equally as valuable for judges and law clerks by providing a holistic view of the matters before them.” 

Quick Check Quotation Analysis

 Westlaw Edge was developed by attorneys and technologists at the Thomson Reuters Center for Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing working together to apply cutting-edge AI technologies to attorney-authored content and powerful legal research tools. 

 Quick Check Use Cases. Quick Check launched in July of 2019 as part of  Westlaw Edge. In an earlier post I described the Quick Check use cases  which include:  Updating an old brief, quality checking a  working draft and  performing final check before submitting a brief to a court. Lawyers can also examine  an opponent’s brief and motions to gain insight into “omitted authority” or vulnerabilities. With the launch of Quick Check Judicial lawyers have been given a new tool for driving deeper analysis and eliminating the need for running multiple Quick Check reports on separate documents. 

 The technology behind Quick Check simultaneously analyses the structure of the document while executing several search strategies, crawling primary and secondary sources and following citation networks, leveraging the key number system, court and other data attributes. Quick Check normally completes its analysis in less than a minute. The Quick Check report enables and attorneys to quickly see a multitude of tags and indicators which validate the cited authorities or suggest additional or better precedents for each issue.  

Market Impact Quick Check Judicial  marks the second significant enhancement to Quick Check following the addition of Quotation Analysis in April. Although there has been quite a bit of activity in the brief checking market, Westlaw Edge Quick Check is the first to offer the simultaneous analysis of multiple documents. It is also a smart marketing strategy for Thomson Reuters to position a tool as helping judges  to  compare brief and memos submitted by each side  and quickly see which party “did their homework.”  A start up named Casetext created the brief analysis market with the launch of Cara. All the major legal research platforms ( LexisNexis, Bloomberg) and well as smaller competitors (Ross (Eva) and VLex (Vincent) have entered the brief analysis space. The law firms and their clients have benefited from the competitive forces driving efficiencies into traditional legal workflow.

 No additional Cost  In this time of belt tightening, existing Westlaw Edge customers will be happy to learn that Quick Check Judicial is available at no additional charge to all Westlaw Edge subscribers.  


Thomson Reuters continues to build out features in Westlaw Edge. Today they have announced  a new  A.I. enabled quote checking feature which resides within the brief analysis tool Quick Check which was launched at the  American Association of Law Libraries meeting last July. Quick Check allows lawyers to upload a brief and quickly identify missing or problematic authority. Most importantly it can be used as a final check on a lawyer’s draft documents or  to identify weaknesses in an  opposing parties brief or motion.
Quick Check Quotation Analysis is one more feature which drives efficiency while reducing risk. A lawyer can identify both misquotation or potential misrepresentation of quotes. According to Carol Jo Lechtenberg senior director of Westlaw product management, “Quotation Analysis uses AI to find display and compare the language of the  cited  cases to the quotation from the uploaded document.”  Briefs and motions can contain dozens of quotes, it can be very time-consuming to identify every discrepancy down to a  missing or misplaced “comma.”.
The quotation analysis report provides a side-by-side comparison  which highlights any difference in the quotes. It also  enables a lawyer to quickly review the context surrounding the quote in the original document.
I believe that QuickCheck may be the first brief analysis tool to offer this type of AI enabled quotation checking feature.  The  brief analysis market has heated up in the past year. Bloomberg Law launched  their  Brief Analyzer in in February 2020. Lexis is expected to launch a brief analyzer tool in the coming months. Casetext CARA launched the first brief analysis tool in 2016. In this highly competitive marketplace – every innovation by one company drives the development of higher value solutions across the market.
Quick Check Judicial. This could be a real headliner. Later this summer a new tool for the judiciary will be released which will enable judges and law clerks to upload the filings from each side and compare and easily identify potential issues in each parties briefs:

I have been predicting that predictive tools would gain an increasing presence  in the practice of law. The press release from Thomson Reuters about Legislative Insights on Westlaw Edge  carefully skirts the prediction issue by substituting the word “probabilities.” Thomson Reuters deep legislative coverage is about to be turbo charged with technology from Skopos Labs. Thomson Reuters was an early investor in Skopos through their venture capital arm Thomson Reuters Ventures.

Legislative Insight is driven by a proprietary machine learning and natural language processing methodology from Continue Reading Thomson Reuters Launches Westlaw Edge Legislative Insights With Probabilities of Enactment

Today Thomson Reuters is announcing the release of a new AI enabled enhancement for WESTLAW Edge. Quick Check enables a lawyer to “drop and drag” a brief or motion into the Quick Check AI portal and retrieve a thorough analysis of the cited or missing authority. The Quick Check process takes one minute on average. Michael Dahn, SVP Product Management, Carol Jo Lechtenberg, Westlaw Product Management and T0nya Custis, Sr. Director Research Center for AI and Cognitive Computing hosted a webinar demonstration earlier this week for members of the legal press which I attended.

Quick Check use cases include:  Updating an old brief, quality checking a  working draft and  performing final check before submitting a brief to a court. Lawyers can also examine  an opponent’s brief and Continue Reading Thomson Reuters Launches Westlaw Edge Quick Check Raising the Bar for A.I. DrivenBrief and Citation Insights

The 2018 launch of Thomson Reuters Westlaw Edge was “buzz worthy” enough to get its own question in the Hits and Misses survey. I reviewed Westlaw Edge last July.  Readers were asked  to rank the value of Westlaw Edge features and to indicate whether their organizations had purchased Westlaw Edge… and if they hadn’t, to explain why.

Last  week  AALL announced that the Westlaw Edge Statutory and Regulatory  redlining feature “statutes compare and regulations compare” was given the prestigious “Product of the Year” Award. The readers of this blog agree. In the recent “Hits and Misses”  Survey,  Statutory and Regulatory Compare  was voted the most valuable feature in the new Westlaw Edge Product.

Statutes and Regulations Compare. I have no doubt that developing the technology for aligning statutes and regulations for a year over year comparison was is quite challenging. But  I can’t help but wonder if  this feature gets the award for being the most accessible and easy to explain to attorneys. The results smack you right in the timesheet. The resulting redline triggers an immediate gut understanding of the time saved compared to cobbling together a redline in a Word document… assuming you can easily locate the  the right statutory  text from the years you need to compare.

Citation Risk Analysis which came in third may be the most sophisticated new offering – but it offers a solution to a problem which was well… invisible to most lawyers. It almost requires a chart to explain what the “citation risk” is actually doing. It is the PHD of citation analysis products. It flags when an apparently valid precedent within a cited case has been indirectly over ruled in subsequent cases… as in  a lawyer’s  ‘eyes glaze over” before you have finished the first sentence of your multi-paragraph explanation.  And yet I am enough of a research geek to recognize the brainpower that went in to mapping the problem and the “Citation Risk” solution.

Analytics  came in second – even though analytics is the hottest and fastest growing segment of  legal research… But understanding this kind of data has a learning curve and until now lawyers have practiced law without it. I suspect that most lawyers won’t get the value of a “time to motion grant” chart until a client pushes an analytics dossier on his firm across the table for the first time.

WestSearch Plus – came in fourth. Frankly I am shocked that this wasn’t more highly ranked. It offers the first version of “Westlaw Answers” which utilizes AI in delivering answers to certain types of legal questions e.g. elements of a cause of action.  Westlaw had previously launched a version of Westlaw Answers which delivered “human curated” answers. Westlaw Answers in Edge not only uses AI but it can also deliver answers to analytics queries posed in natural language–which no other product offers.

The problem may be that “search” simply doesn’t “wow” people anymore… especially the search experts that read this blog. But I have been a legal researcher long enough to appreciate the trajectory  of  increasingly more sophisticated technologies and algorithms  powering  Westlaw since its inception. Westlaw has emphasized in their marketing and products demos that WestSearch Plus delivers more targeted results than Westlaw Next.

To consumers WestSearch Plus marks progress along a continuum rather than a fundamentally new tool shining with a gloss of novelty.   As early as 1990 Westlaw launched an alternative to “Boolean research commands” with  Westlaw EZ Access – a “fill in the blank” search option for partners. This was followed by the 1993 Westlaw is Natural WIN campaign marking the launch of the first natural language version of Westlaw.

WestSearch Plus is an excellent search tool – it may deliver more targeted search results and ultimately save lawyers time — but so far Thomson Reuters has not conducted a study to document the efficiencies delivered by the search engine.

To Buy Or Not To Buy

The majority of respondents indicated that they have not yet bought Westlaw Edge and have no plans to purchase in 2019.

Here are the Most Common Reasons:

    • Cost: 41% of non-purchaser respondents indicated that cost was the major factor in their decision.
    • No Clear ROI: was the factor mentioned by 24% of the non- purchasers.

Other factors noted by non-purchasers were: the cancellation of Westlaw prior to the launch of Edge (10%) prior purchase of Lexis Machina for analytics (5%).

Does it need to be stated? Show Me the ROI! If you have a product with a high price tag you need to deliver  a clear and compelling ROI message. Thomson Reuters could have rolled Westlaw Edge into existing contracts and allowed people to experience the value before tacking on the “up charge” during the  contract renewal. They could have offered it at a moderate price increase to ease people into the value of the product. It appears that Thomson Reuters has set the highest bar of all for themselves: High price point – supported by anecdotes rather than data.

How is it that in 2019 in the “age of analytics” – vendors have so much difficulty documenting value. Thomson Reuters is not alone here – none of their competitors Lexis, Bloomberg Law or Wolters Kluwer produce any efficiency or outcome studies to support their products and pricing. Thomson Reuters has in the past produced some very interesting value charts for Practical Law and “Dealproof” products but none to illustrate Westlaw driven efficiency.

It is time for  vendors to  justify the cost of  their products with some ROI data. If WestSearch Plus, Lexis Advance or Bloomberg Law “points of law” are making associates more efficient – show me the data!   And if you can’t invest in an ROI study to justify the cost  you are asking customers to pay — it makes me wonder if you really believe that your products can deliver the value which you continually promise.

Here are links to the prior Hits and Misses Posts

Part 1: Terminal Outrage.

Part 2: Best New Products and Features

Part 3: Best New Analytics Products

Today Thomson Reuters issued a press release announcing that more than 1,500 organizations have upgraded from Westlaw to Westlaw Edge. I guess you can’t begrudge Thomson Reuters trying to change the subject.  On Tuesday I wrote about the re-organization that Has led to the layoff of countless seasoned executives, managers and staff across the organization.

I wish today’s press release provided more demographics about the 1,500 customers. It is not clear how that breaks down among government, corporate and law firm customers. Only two ALM 100 firms are named in the press release. There could be other ALM 100 firms which have a policy not to allow the firm’s name to be used in marketing materials.

I  wrote about the significant new features offered in Westlaw Edge when it was released in July of this year. This new platform represents Thomson Reuters largest investment in Artificial Intelligence since 2010.  Westlaw Edge  features include advanced natural language answers,  a completely new analytics product, an innovative new citation feature “Citation Risk Analyzer” and “Statutes Compare.”

New Features The press release also highlights that since the launch of Westlaw Edge in July Thompson Reuters has continued adding new content and functionality. New features Continue Reading Changing the Subject from Layoffs – Thomson Reuters Celebrates 1,500 Westlaw Edge Subscribers – Still Faces Market Resistance and The Challenge of ROI.

I think we all suspected that Thomson Reuters had “something big”  in the works … after all, it has been eight years since their last major launch: WestlawNext. Yesterday Thomson Reuters executives gathered in New York for a press event to announce the launch of a new AI enabled platform Westlaw Edge, a new search engine Westlaw Search Plus,  litigation analytics and an exciting new Keycite features. Over the past decade there has been  no shortage of either legal tech start-ups or AI hyperbole to fill the void while TR maintained a stony silence regarding AI and analytics. Well they did not disappoint. Thomson Reuters brought executive “star power” to the event to provide insights into the market context, the technology and of course the drivers. Presenters included Andy Martens, global head of Product and Editorial ;Mike Dahn, senior vice president, Westlaw Product Management; Jeff Arvidson, director, Product Development and Khalid Al-Kofahi, vice president,  Research.

Westlaw Edge is a new version of Westlaw which Dahn described as enabling lawyers to move through routine work much faster and helping even experienced practitioners avoid mistakes on complex matters while offering attorneys new insights they’ve never had access to before. This product represents the fruits of Thomson Reuters largest investment in AI since 2010.

It was developed by attorneys and technologists at the Thomson Reuters Center for Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing in Toronto.  The new platform and features leverage the deep taxonomies, and editorial enhancements developed by Thomson Reuters as well as the Outline of American Law which was developed by the  predecessor West Publishing  Company over 100 years ago.

At a press event today, Martens reviewed the new functionality in the context of the volatile legal market place Dahn repeatedly assured the audience that TR was not launching a “robot lawyer.” He described the launch a new desktop enabled with AI and analytics which would streamline a lawyers’ workflow and drive efficiency. Arvidson explained the analytics and Kofahi provided insights into the AI and machine learning technologies behind the new solutions.

Here are the key features which Thomson Reuters will be showcasing this coming week at the American Association of Law Libraries Conference in Baltimore.

Westlaw Edge Launch Page

Key cite overruling risk   West is introducing a new orange citation warning symbol. Up graded Keycite will offer a new, first of it’s kind “risk analysis” feature for case law which is no longer good but not explicitly overruled. Traditional citators are limited to warning lawyers about  negative case law history where there are explicit citing relationships. In other words lawyers can inadvertently repeat  the mistake of other lawyers lawyers and judges in citing to bad precedent. Machine learning was employed to analyze millions of cases to identify these  “ bad law” cases which are invisible because they have no direct negative history.


Westlaw Edge Risk Analytics in Keycite

Westlaw Search Plus. This is a more sophisticated search engine which surpasses Westlaw Next. It uses AI to help lawyers surface answers to questions faster. Machine learning, natural language processing, citation networks, the Thomson Reuters taxonomy of law, the key number system  and the West archive of twenty-seven million headnotes work together to optimize search results. It expands the “Westlaw Answers” feature to provide near instantaneous answers to thousands of new questions. By contrast, Westlaw Answers in Westlaw Next only provides answers for a limited number of issues: Judicially defined terms, Statues of limitation and legal elements.  There is a type ahead  feature which will allow lawyers to automatically populate a question which has been previously asked and answered. But lawyers can ask completely new questions as well.

Integrated litigation analytics. Includes data for almost 8,000,000 federal cases going back as far as 1990 but with full federal coverage starting in the year 2000. State court analytics is more limited but coverage can be determined using a US map on the Westlaw Edge platform.

Westlaw Edge Analtyics

Like it’s competitors West is offering analytics insights into judges, law firms, motions, districts as well as expert challenge analytics which can be used for pitch strategy, litiigaton strategy and venue selection.

  • Motion types will provide data on 13 Main motion types and those motion types are further subcategorized. For example, motion analytics distinguish motions granted with and without prejudice can be distinguished.  Arvidson estimated that there are 30 or 40 motion types in total. These motion types are available for all federal courts and selected state court such as New York and Cook County Illinois.Data can be displayed in the chart or a table.
  • Data can be examined by role and analyzed or compared by plaintiff or defendant.
  • Judges data will provide insights into both appeals of this judge’s decisions and appeals to a specific judge.
  • Westlaw Answers for analytics! One very unique feature is that a lawyer can use  a free text Westlaw Answers type query with the analytics. So you can type in a question about a specific judges motion grant rate and the system will automatically retrieve the analytics.This is the tightest integration between analytics and case law which I have seen, because West search plus functionality is woven into the analytics product.
  • Westlaw Answers for Analytics
  • State court analytics for the most part is limited to enabling a lawyer to determine what kind of cases have been before a judge  and what kind of experience do law firms and attorneys have in various courts or before various judges. Whenever possible they have mapped the federal and OS codes nature of suit codes so that the same terminology will work on federal and state cases.

One issue which Thomson Reuters has not yet resolved, is identifying analytics  for cases on issues such as commercial law for which there is no nature of suit code. According to Dahn they will be actively addressing that issue.

Statutes compare

West is also not the first to offer the redlining of statutes, but with this launch they are likely offering the most comprehensive redlining feature of any of its competitors. Lawyers can redline and compare different versions of federal and state codes. A code section can be analyzed year over year or 10 years apart. Sections which of been added or deleted will be graphically displayed. Wolters Kluwer has offered similar redlining for regulatory content such as tax and securities but as far as I can recall they are not offering state law redlining

Statutes Compare

Enhanced User Experience Features

  • Lawyers will no longer have to start scrolling through a case to find the right text. The new search will look within documents to bring lawyer to the responsive text. They will no longer have to tab through every keyword in the document.
  • Westlaw Search Plus will not retrieve case law that has a negative history on the issue you are searching.
  • Integrated litigation analytics
  • Westlaw answers for analytics.
  • The West helpline will augment their reference attorney team with “insights attorneys “who have special expertise on the analytics product.
  • Restore prior filters. Sometimes you just go to far. In Westlaw next when this happens and you want to go back… You can’t you have to start over. Now in the click of a button you can restore your prior search.
  • There will be more information in the results list. For example you can read more of the synopsis of a case instead of just the keywords.
  • Saved searches.  Laywers can now save searches to be run later without having to save them as Westclips which run automatically.
  • Documents will have a table of contents so a researcher will always know where they  are within the document. This will obviously prevent lawyers from Stumbling into a dissent when they think they are reading the main opinion.

A Few More FAQs
There will be a Westlaw Edge iPhone app.

It will be rolled out to law professors on November 1st and to law students on January 1, 2019.

 Is this a game changer?

It is somewhat ironic that although Westlaw was actually the first legal publisher to have a legal analytics product, they are the last to integrate analytics into their legal research platform.

The original TR analytics product Monitor Suite launched about 14 years ago, at a time which it was inconceivable that legal analytics would emerge as a core legal research competency for lawyers. The Monitor Suite was designed for research specialists such as Librarians and Business intelligence staff. The new integrated analytics platform was not built on Monitor Suite– it is a completely new product built from the ground up.  They recoded that data and added  machine learning.

So…did Thomson Reuters wait to long to launch an analytics product for lawyers? Can they catch up to Lexis which got a head start with the with purchase of two of the leading analytics platforms Ravel and Lex Machina.   Bloomberg Law a relative newcomer to the legal research  market launched their Litigation Analytics in October 2016. Even Fastcase acquired the analytics product Docket Alarm while we were all waiting to see when TR would launch an analytics product for lawyers.

Lex Machina still has the most sophisticated dashboard in the market, but they do not offer data for all federal courts on all issues. They have been rolling out new modules at a quickening pace.

Westlaw has a simpler dashboard than Lex Machina but this may work to their advantage.—it may be less intimidating to lawyers who suffer from numerophobia. Nonetheless they offer a robust variety of filters, features and displays which may allow lawyers to “ease in” to interacting with data. The natural language “ Westlaw answers” query feature even dispenses with a lawyer having to select courts or filters.

There is a lot to digest in the new Westlaw Edge product and I can’t possibly do it justice in a single post. I think TR took a big gamble waiting this long to enter the analytics market  and to turbo-charge their search engine with a suite of AI tools… but I am certain that all of these new features will cause firms to take a long hard look at Westlaw Edge. There are some exciting new features such as the “natural language query for analytics “ which are way ahead of the competition – at least for today. The one thing that is certain is that customers do benefit when vendors are competing this hard as they do in this to leapfrog over each other to offer the next “game changing solution.” Congratulations to Thomson Reuters leadership and the 200 plus programmers, scientists and attorneys on the launch of Westlaw Edge.

How do you get it?

Westlaw Next will continue to be available for subscribers who choose not to upgrade. Westlaw Edge is a complete replacement for Westlaw Next  so accounts that upgrade will simply  move to Westlaw Edge and will not find themselves navigating between to platforms in order to get all the content they need. According to the press release  several ALM 100 firms have already signed on: Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Shearman  & Sterling and Lock Lord.


Here is the press release.

Today Thomson Reuters is announcing the release of a new platform Westlaw Precision which promises to dramatically cut research time and improve the quality of research results. Westlaw Precision will be sold as an upgrade to Westlaw Edge. Westlaw Precision is tackling the gnarly and perennial problem of language ambiguity by doubling down on taxonomy. At launch, Westlaw Precision covers 8 topics (Commercial law, Federal Civil Procedure, Federal Discovery and Evidence, Federal Remedies, Federal Class Actions, Employment, Securities, and Anti-trust.) Fifteen new topics will be released through 2023. Only the most recent 12 years of caselaw in each topic are included in search results.

Westlaw Precision includes 6 new features at launch. Precision Research is the “Star of the show.” The other 5 features offer cite checking or workflow enhancements.

“Our customers tell us difficult legal research can often take more than 10 hours per case,” said Mike Dahn, head of Product Management, Westlaw, Thomson Reuters. “It’s time consuming because they are often looking for something very precise, but traditional Continue Reading Westlaw Precision Launches With Promise to Cut Lawyer Research Time in Half

Tuesday morning law librarians around the country began fielding inquiries from lawyers complaining of slow response times and access problems on Westlaw. The disrupted services included: Westlaw, Westlaw Edge, Westlaw UK, Practical Law US and UK, Practical Law Connect, Data Privacy Advisor.

After almost 7 hours of  interrupted access and colossal slow response times, Thomson Reuters representations were reaching out to customers to report that systems had been restored to normal.

I reached out to Thomson Reuters executives for an explanation, but they provided only two  brief statements addressing the  system Continue Reading Westlaw Services Back to Normal Following Serious Disruptions Through Most of Tuesday