Thomson highlighted five major components that set Westlaw Edge apart from its predecessor, Westlaw Next:
• Enhanced search capabilities, with a new algorithm (WestSearch Plus) that looks beyond terms and at metadata and case citing relationships for more responsive search and a predictive question asking system.
• Warnings for invalid or questionable law, which flags both bad, outdated law and risks for overruling, even on cases that are not directly cited by a new case that changes the law.
• A tool for statutory change analysis, allowing comparison between versions of statutes and highlighting added and deleted language, similar to Microsoft Word’s tracked changes.
• Integrated litigation analytics, which employs machine learning and the company’s stable of legal editors to break down state and federal dockets for analysis by attributes like judges, motions, attorneys and more.
• “User Experience improvements,” such as synopsis-like case backgrounds, holdings, and more.
The new features are interesting/exciting but it’s not likely to come with a substantial upcharge. As you may recall in the introduction of Westlaw Next in 2010, the new platform was offered initially as a monthly upcharge. Eventually, (5 years plus) all hold-outs were moved to the new platform with no cost as Westlaw.com was sunsetted.
In its release of Westlaw, Thomson Reuters analysis showed that complex legal research tasks take an average of six hours, with some taking much longer. AI-driven platforms should reduce the time for searches and should improve the quality of the results. Firms want to be in an a flexible/nimble position to adapt to the rapid pace of change.
Michael Feit earned his J.D. from the Loyola University School of Law in Chicago and was an executive at Westlaw before founding Feit Consulting 16 years ago. Feit Consulting partners with law firm administrators and legal information professionals to optimize vendor contracts and the management and delivery of legal information resources by providing leading-edge, customized solutions. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org