Westlaw Edge: now in Canada, made for Canada
Every country's legal system has its own nuances and intricacies. So when it became time to bring Westlaw Edge to Canada, we aimed to update our already powerful legal research tool to reflect the needs of Canadian lawyers. Along the way, we delivered something that helps you move through the research process more quickly and with greater confidence.
To understand what makes Westlaw Edge unique, we asked Mary Acimovic, Director Product Management, Westlaw & Digital Platforms.
Mary, what's the "big story" of Westlaw Edge?
Westlaw Edge is a premium platform, launching with eight new and exclusive features and capabilities based on what Canadian customers value most. In addition to the eight unique features, the new platform will have an updated, modern interface. Our Canadian customers have been at the heart of our Westlaw Edge build. We've been partnering with them to define the core launch features and also collaborating with them throughout our build of Westlaw Edge.
Is there anything particularly unique to Westlaw Edge that gets you excited about this iteration of Westlaw?
One of our greatest strengths at Thomson Reuters is our decades of editorial expertise. With Westlaw Edge, we've used technology to showcase this foundational editorial expertise to build a platform that has been customized to meet the needs of Canadian customers and to reflect the particular requirements of the Canadian content.
Why was now the right time to bring Westlaw Edge to Canada?
The Covid pandemic has heightened the need for lawyers to evolve and forced an increase in efficiency through technology. Our customers continue to look for greater efficiencies, precision, and confidence in their legal research. Westlaw Edge brings together a legacy of quality and accuracy with the latest advancements in technology so lawyers can work, think, and deliver even faster. It builds on the premium content, editorial expertise, and performance the legal industry has come to expect from Westlaw.
When you compare what's new with what already exists, are there things Westlaw Edge can do that WestlawNext could not?
This is going to be a long answer. Like I said, there are multiple new features that weren't present in previous versions of Westlaw. A lot of them come down to the actual act of searching or the results themselves.
For example, there's a new feature called Judicial Consideration that I think will be very popular. It allows lawyers to quickly find the most relevant cases that apply or interpret a statute. This will appear in the form of editorially curated lists that make it a lot easier to find the “right" cases, not just the potentially relevant cases. It will be a major boost to the speed of legal research and get lawyers a much faster route to the specific cases they need in a given moment.
Another launch capability is KeyCite Overruling Risk. This is a massive confidence booster because it allows lawyers to know that they are citing good law. It's the only Canadian citator that warns when a point of law in a lawyer's case has been implicitly undermined based on its reliance on an overruled or otherwise invalid prior decision.
And for lawyers who are just at the starting points of their research, Common Queries will provide quick answers to common legal questions that come up often.
We're also launching with Legal Topic Suggestions that will help uncover issue-specific resources based on key terms. And a new case law Proceedings Filter allows lawyers to quickly find decisions that address a relevant issue in a particular procedural context (without having to wade through a lengthy results list).
There are also some basic usability enhancements that are maybe not as splashy, but actually very helpful in the day-to-day use of Westlaw Edge. There's a built-in Sidebarring functionality that lawyers can use to seamlessly flag important paragraphs without leaving Westlaw Edge, and Select Term Highlighting and Table of Contents for cases that will allow users to more efficiently navigate case law documents and search results.
Westlaw Edge also has an enhanced search experience and an updated interface. The enhanced search experience is a step ahead in getting customers the results they are looking for faster, using predictive research suggestions. The updated interface feels more modern and smooths out some existing customer pain points while still being familiar to established Westlaw users. This is important because adopting a new platform and changing the way you work can be a real pain point for lawyers who want to use the latest tools and technology, but who still need to get the job done efficiently.
On the client side, can Westlaw Edge help lawyers respond to the needs of their clients?
Well, the new features I listed before are all part of a bigger picture if you think about it. Yes, they're designed to help lawyers be more efficient, which clients care about when the bill comes due, but I think they also add up to a more confident lawyer in the process.
When you consider how something like Common Queries can help lawyers answer some of those “frequently asked questions" with authority, or how KeyCite Overruling Risk can add another layer of trust in your citations and strategy, the confidence boost I mentioned earlier really can't be overstated.
Lawyers face an incredibly high standard for their work, so anything that can help secure a client's faith or insulate a case from possible weaknesses and exploits is an exciting development. I think Canadian lawyers will see Westlaw Edge with that same excitement. It really is poised to be a major upgrade and a competitive advantage for lawyers looking to move faster, more effectively, and with greater confidence.