If you’ve ever tried out WestlawNext, then you’re likely familiar with its convenient features like natural language search and folder’s option. The App for android, which you download by searching for “WestlawNext” in your Google Play store, is surprisingly just as neat and efficient. Much like the original WestlawNext, the App allows you to access your saved research from your folders as well as your recent searches.
It’s also just as easy to search using natural language; I simply typed in “what is an unexcused absence for an employee” into the search box and I received the same results as I had on the web version. The App neatly listed the top cases, statutes, regulations and administrative decisions for me. There is also a handy little “Skip To” dropbox that allows you to quickly access whichever source you prefer.
There were some downsides though; I discovered that while you can still email any documents that you may find, there is no option to print. This could be tricky if you were looking for a last minute form. Further, while you can search using natural language, you do not have an advanced search option like on the website
Another downside was the App’s “add note” tool. On the web version you can add notes on the side of the document, next to the section of the case where you’d like to comment. The App version only allows you to add a general note to the case, not a specific portion. Furthermore, since the screen on which you’re viewing the case is obviously much smaller, you have to read through the entire case to look for search terms, while the online version provides a navigation arrow to bring you straight to each term.
Cases are also viewed differently on the App version than on the web version. For some reason, rather than allowing you the option to view the case on one screen with a scroll down bar, the App version breaks up a case into separate pages. This makes it harder to refer back and forth to different sections of a case. In addition, if there is a line you need to refer to at the end of an opinion, then your only option is to continue clicking the bottom arrow to arrive at the correct page.
Yet, do not let these pure stylistic complaints deter you; the WestlawNext App still provides a great alternative to lugging around a cumbersome laptop. I found that I was also still able to keycite my research to make sure my law was valid, and simply clicking the Westlaw Next logo on the top left of the screen brought me back to the homepage where I could change research topics or browse through individual sources. Ultimately, the App proved itself worthy and I was able to quickly locate helpful sources, such as the Corpus Juris Secundum Article, Section 402, “Social Security and Public Welfare.” If you’re interested, look it up on the Westlaw Next app!
~ Nicole Puleio, Class of 2013 ~