West’s Instructional Aids Series
A Law Student’s Look at
Westlaw® for the Practitioner
Legal Forms
Practice Guides and Aids
Litigation Databases
– Jury Instructions
– Jury Verdicts and Settlements
– Expert Witnesses
• News Databases1
• Company and Securities Information Databases2
• Public Records Databases3
1 A few
news databases are not available to law students.
2 Some corporate and security databases are not available to law students.
3 Most public records databases are not available to law students.
• As a law student, you have been trained to perform pure legal
research. Most of your research has been in case law, statutes,
or secondary sources.
• As a lawyer, you will conduct many sorts of non-legal or
quasi-legal research every day.
• You will need to know how to do such things as
– track down potential witnesses
– find a company’s registered agent for service
– draft an eviction notice
– assess the financial strength of a company or an individual
– evaluate a proposed stock offering
– conduct a “due diligence” review
• Westlaw contains more than 17,000 databases, many of
which are unfamiliar to law students. Most of these
databases can be of enormous help to the practicing
• A few of the databases introduced in this tour of Westlaw
are not available to law students due to West’s contracts
with third-party publishers.
• This tour is intended to give you an overview of what
materials and services you can expect from Westlaw as a
practicing attorney. It is not intended to be Westlaw
My Westlaw Tab Pages for Practitioners
• Forty two topical tab pages include:
Bankruptcy, Due Diligence,
Environmental, Health,
Homeland Security,
Immigration, Intellectual
Property, Maritime Law,
Military, Products
Liability, Social Security
• Litigation page
• Investigation page
• Public Records page
You can select up to six
tabbed pages by clicking
My Westlaw on toolbar
and checking the
selections you want.
Tax Tab Page: an Example of a Topical
Tab Page
1, 2 , 3 Quick Search
Tax Databases
Legal Forms
Legal Forms
• There are more than 400 databases that contain forms on
• Many of the forms can be copied and pasted into a word
processing document.
• The forms multibase is Forms-All ( FORMS-ALL).
• National forms databases include
– American Jurisprudence Pleading and
Practice Forms (AMJUR-PP)
– Federal Procedural Forms (FEDPROF)
– National Pleading and Practice Forms
– West’s Legal Forms, which contains the full text
of the print publication that has long been a favorite
Legal Forms Database
• Many of the forms databases are state-specific.
– Arizona Legal Forms (AZ-LF)
– California Civil Practice–Combined (CCP-ALL)
– Colorado Forms (CO-FORMS)
– Personal Injury Forms:Illinois (PIFRM-IL)
• Many of the forms are specific to an area of the law, such as
bankruptcy, arbitration, or patent law.
– Alternative Dispute Resolution with Forms (ADR)
– Complete Manual of Criminal Forms (CMCRF)
– Doing Business on the Internet: Forms and Analysis
– Uniform Commercial Code Official National Forms
Treatises, CLEs, Practice Guides
Treatises, CLEs, Practice Guides
This is a partial list of the forms databases
on Westlaw. They are sprinkled throughout
the Treatises, CLEs, and Practice Guides
and the Litigation sections of the Westlaw
Directory. Many of the other practice
materials databases also include forms.
Field Searches in Forms Databases
• Database: FORMS-ALL
• Structured Search: power of attorney health-care
Title: Power of Attorney
for Health Care
Database: AMJUR-PP
Search: ti(“list of titles”)
Search: ci(outline & annuity)
Title: Alphabetical
List of Titles
Title: Annuities
Natural Language Searches in Forms
• Database: AMJUR-PP
• Search: Deed of land for
park purposes
Database: WEST-LF
Search: unlawful detainer
for failure to pay rent
Title: Complaint for Unlawful
Detainer and Rent
Title: Complaint, Petition, or
Declaration to Enjoin the Diversion
of Park Property to Nonpark Use
Practice Guides and Aids
Practice Guides
Practice Guides and Aids
• A wide variety of practice guides and materials are
available on Westlaw.
• Some practice databases are state-specific, some are
topical, and some are general in nature.
• Practice aids include texts, treatises, forms, practice guides,
CLE course materials, and other materials. Often several
types of practice materials are included in a database.
• The Legal Practice (LAWPRAC) database contains
documents from periodicals focusing on
the practical aspects of lawyering:
advocacy and lawyering skills, law
office management, law office
automation, lawyer hiring and training,
court automation, judicial management
and selection, and the general practice
Practice Guides
General and Topical Practice Materials
American Jurisprudence Proof of Facts (AMJUR-POF)
Practising Law Institute (PLI)
RIA® Estate Planners Alert (RIA-ESTPA)
Health Law Practice Guide (HTHLPG)
Glasser LegalWorks Seminars (GLASS-CLE)
Wage and Hour Law: Compliance and Practice (WHLCP)
Federal Practice and Procedure® (Wright & Miller) (FPP)
Patent Applications Handbook (PATAPP)
Attorneys Medical Advisor (MEDADV)
Practice Guides
State Practice Materials Database
Texas Practice Guide Multibase (TXPG-ALL)
Georgia Analytical Practice Library (GAPRACLIB)
The Rutter Group in California Practice Guides (TRG-CA)
The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education
Materials (FL-CLE)
Illinois Law and Practice (IL-LP)
New York Jurisprudence (NYJUR)
Baldwin’s Ohio Practice Series (OHPRAC)
Kentucky Practice Series Multibase (KYPRAC)
New Jersey Practice Series (NJPRAC)
Michigan Personal Injury Texts & Legal Forms (MIPI-TLF)
Practice Guides
Treatises, CLEs, and Practice Guides
This is a partial list of the practice
materials databases on Westlaw. They
are in the Treatises, CLEs, and
Practice Guides section of the
Practice Guides
Sample Search
• Database: LAWPRAC
• Natural Language search: guide for counsel in cases to be
argued before the supreme court
• Result:
Title: Guide for Counsel in Cases to Be Argued
Before the Supreme Court of the United States
Litigation Databases
Litigation Tab Page Aids the Practitioner
from Case Evaluation to Case Closure
More Litigation databases
are under the Topical
Materials by Area of
Practice section of the
Westlaw Directory. Several
of the entries, such as
Lawsuits Filed and
Litigation Preparation
Records, are Westlaw public
records databases. Some of
these materials can also be
found on the Litigation tab.
Jury Verdicts and Settlements
Jury verdicts and
settlements documents give
the names of parties,
lawyers, and expert
witnesses; the type and
extent of injury; the age
and occupation of the
injured; the nature of the
negotiations; and the final
award (if any) by either
jury verdict or settlement
to help evaluate the value
of a case.
Jury Instructions Databases
Jury Instruction databases
can be found in the
Directory under Litigation
in the topical section or
on the Litigation tab page.
Listed to the left are some
of the jury instructions
databases on Westlaw.
• Database: FL-JV
• Natural Language search: 25 year old male truck driver
burned when radiator overheated after repair
• Result: At least one document with similarities to the fact
pattern embedded in the search; see above.
Jury Verdicts and Settlements
Fields in JV-ALL
Carpal Tunnel
Defendant’s verdict
• Database: JV-ALL
• Jury verdict databases have unique fields. To see fields,
click Fields on the Terms and Connectors search page.
• Search: “carpal tunnel” in the Summary field and val0
(value 0) in the Range field.
• The Range field (ra) allows you to search for documents in
which the awards fall within a certain dollar range.
Expert Witness Databases
Several databases are designed to help
you locate expert witnesses in
specialized areas.
– Expert Witness Résumés
(EXPTRESUME) gives the
education, past expert witness
experience, results obtained, and
fees and rates of expert witnesses.
– ExpertNet (EXPNET) gives
biographic information on medical
malpractice and personal injury
experts. There is a $200 referral fee.
– Forensic Services Directory
(FSD) gives names and biographic
data on scientific, medical, and
technical experts.
Expert Witness Searches
Expert Witness field searches in the Jury Verdict and
Settlements databases can also be used to to determine the
effectiveness of a specific expert witness in past litigation
or to locate expert witnesses in an area of expertise.
– Database: JV-ALL
– Search: ew(john /2 anders*n)
– Search: ew(“vocational rehab!”) & st(mn wi ia)
Polk County, Iowa
Vocational Rehabilitationist
Andrew’s Litigation Reporter databases
Andrew’s Litigation
Reporters contain short
newsletter style articles on the
latest developments in
specific areas of litigation.
They are in the Directory,
under Litigation, under
Other Litigation Materials
• WestDockets® (court docket information) databases tap into
courts’ docketing systems so you can determine what
documents have been filed, the schedule of proceedings and
appearances. The general format for the identifiers of these
databases is DOC-XX-DCT, where XX is the state’s postal
abbreviation. Check the directory for the exact identifier.
• Litigation Preparation (LITPREP-XX) databases contain
information about all business names, the type of business
entity, whether the business is registered with the state and is
in good standing, and the person to receive process.
• Lawsuit Filings (LS-XX) databases contain records of civil
lawsuits filed in 500 counties of 44 states. These databases
indicate basic information concerning the lawsuit. Most of
these databases cover only business civil filings.
Other Litigation Materials
• National Directory of Process Servers (NDPS) database
lists process servers by state, city, and county.
• Personal Injury Damages materials consist of more than a
dozen databases covering the practical aspects of litigating
various types of personal injury suits.
• Alternative Dispute Resolution materials contain forms,
checklists, and texts that contribute to successful
negotiation and arbitration skills.
• Civil Procedure and Evidence materials include federal and
state rules and orders databases, as well as the Daubert
Citator, Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, and
McCormick on Evidence.
News Databases
West News databases are found under the
Westnews News & Business section of the West Directory.
News & Business
My Westlaw contains both Westnews and News and
Business tab pages of frequently accessed news and
business databases and services.
Current News Databases on Westlaw
• More than 7,200 business financial, and news sources are
provided by the Dow Jones Interactive® service.
• There is up-to-date, full-text coverage of 48 of the top 50
U.S. daily newspapers.
• Today’s news stories are contained in the Today’s News
(TODAYSNEWS) database, which includes news from the
Dow Jones News Service, The Wall Street Journal, The
Los Angeles Times, the New York Times News Service,
and The Washington Post.
• Newswires (WIRES) databases track breaking news
Frequently Used Newspaper Databases
• More than 600 United States newspapers are available on
• Most newspapers are available in multibases and in
individual databases. State, regional, and comprehensive
databases contain multiple individual databases.
• XXNEWS (where XX is the state’s two-letter postal
abbreviation) contains a state’s newspapers and articles of
interest in the state.
• Major Newspapers (PAPERSMJ) contains 15 of the major
U.S. newspapers.
• All News (ALLNEWS) contains more than 5,800
newspaper, magazine, transcript, newsletter, and journal
• ALLNEWSPLUS contains ALLNEWS databases, plus
wire service databases.
Newspaper Databases Examples
• Widely known newspapers
– The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) available online
exclusively on Westlaw
– Washington Post (WP)
– Los Angeles Times (LAT)
• Lesser known newspapers
– Contra Costa Papers (CONTRA-PPRS)
– The Age (THEAGE)
– Rocky Mountain News (RM-NEWS)
– Daily Camera (BLDRCAM)
– Village Voice (VILVC)
Examples of international newspapers (English or English
– Times of London (TMS-LONDON)
– The Wall Street Journal Europe (WSJ-EURO)
– Yomiuri Simbun (DYYSHIM)
– Zimbabwe Independent (ZIMBINDPT)
– Moscow News (MOSCOWNWS)
– Turkish Daily News (TURKDLYN)
– Asian Wall Street Journal (WSJ-ASIA)
– Other newspapers from countries and cities such as,
Brazil, Bangkok, Canada, China, Egypt, Estonia,
Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, India, and Korea
Sample Searches in Newspaper Databases
• Use Terms & Connectors searches when you know the
terms that must be present in relevant documents.
– To find a person in the news
• sam! +3 tayl*r
– To find a company in the news
• “state farm insurance” /p flood /4 insur!
• a.m.a. “american medical association” /p patient
/4 right
• Use field searches for even more precise searches
– Title field: ti(tobacco cigarette & s****holder)
– Author field: au(tony anthony /3 mauro)
– Index field: in(“international monetary fund” i.m.f.)
& protest!
Title: The fall of Enron/Lay sold
off Enron stock to pay loans
• If you are unsure of the terms that might be used in
discussing your subject, use a Natural Language search in
a news database.
• Database: ALLNEWS
• Natural Language search: “ken lay” sale of enron stock
“line of credit”
• Very few subjects haven’t been written about in an article
in some newspaper.
Types and Examples of Other News Databases
• Wire services (WIRES)
– Associated Press (AP)
– Reuters (RTRENGNS)
• Legal newspapers (LEGALNP)
– American Lawyer (AMLAW)
– National Law Journal (NLJ)
• Magazines (MAGAZINE)
– Barron’s (BARRONS)
– Business Week (BUSWK)
– Forbes (FORBES)
– Money (MONEY)
– U.S. News and World Report (USNWR)
– Mother Jones (MJONES)
Types and Examples of News Databases (continued)
• Newsletters (NEWSLETTERS)
• Trade magazines (TRD&IND)
– Construction Industry News (WNS-CN)
– Pig Farming (PGFR)
• Radio and television transcripts (TRANSCRIPTS)
– 48 Hours (48HOURS)
– 60 Minutes (60MIN)
– Oprah Winfrey Show (OPRAHWINFREY)
• Notable trials (TRIALS)
– O.J. Simpson Criminal Trial (OJ-TRANS)
– O.J. Simpson Civil Trial (OJCIV-TRANS)
• Use the WestClip service to monitor and quickly retrieve
current news developments on a specific topic(s).
• Monitor the media for references to your clients.
• There is no charge for using WestClip unless continuous
monitoring is selected.
Result Options
Add Search to WestClip option under
the Results Options link, in the left
frame of the Result List, can be used
to add the current search to WestClip.
You can also access
WestClip using the
drop-down list on the
toolbar and create an
entry within WestClip.
There are default settings for how often you want your search to
run, whether you want to be notified if there are no results, the
destination where you will receive results, the maximum number
of documents per result, the document format, e.g., a citations list
or term mode pages, and more. There is an Edit link to change
these default options.
WestClip Directory
• Your WestClip entry is stored in the WestClip Directory
along with previously created entries.
• Entries can be run, changed, or deleted at any time by
accessing the WestClip Directory from the More pull-down
list on the toolbar.
• WestClip entries must be in Terms and Connectors format.
• As many as 99 entries can be stored in your WestClip
Company Information and Securities
Information Databases
There is considerable overlap of company
information and securities information databases
with news and public records databases.
Company and Securities Information
Company Information
• Tabbed custom pages can be set up for both company
information and securities materials.
• These pages streamline access to the most relevant
databases and services.
• The tabbed pages can be edited to display the databases
and services that are of specific interest to you.
Company and Securities Information
Company and Securities Information
• There are many databases that contain information on
businesses and securities transactions.
• Some are directory listings that may include the local gas
station as well as the giant conglomerate.
• Others contain sophisticated financial information derived
from registration with a state’s Secretary of State or filings
with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Company and Securities Information
Company Information Database
• Dun & Bradstreet Business Records Plus (DUNBR) contains
information on the history, day-to-day operations, finances, and
corporate affiliations of more than 59.4 million companies
throughout the world.
• Company Profiles (CO-PROFILE) lists key people,
number of employees, annual sales, company divisions,
and subsidiaries.
• The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) contains business articles.
• Daily Report for Executives (BNA-DER)
• Directory of Corporate Counsel (CORP-DIR)
Company and Securities Information
Corporate and Other Business Directories
There are approximately 35 business directories on
Westlaw. They give such information as name and
doing-business-as name, addresses, telephone
numbers, executives, type of business, branch offices,
and much more, depending on the directory.
Directories and Reference Materials
Business Directories
and CO-INTELL are popular
business directories
Company and Securities Information
Company Public Records Database
• Corporate Records and Business Registration–Combined
(CORP-ALL) contains registration and status information from
state secretaries of state. It gives name of registered agent and
good standing status. (CORP-XX is the single state equivalent.)
• Business Tracker (BUS-TRACK) conveys basic information
about a company, such as the company name, address, telephone
number, Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) number, D&B
number, federal employer identification number, trade names, or
fictitious names.
• Business Finder Records–U.S. and Canada (BUSFIND-ALL)
• Fictitious Business Name Records–Combined (FBN-ALL)
• Name Availability Records (NA-ALL) tells whether the name
used is trade, doing-business-as, assumed, or former name.
• Executive Affiliation Records (EA-ALL)
Company and Securities Information
• Database: CORP-MN
• Search: joe /4 bar
• Result: 7 documents. A portion of one document is
displayed showing some of the Secretary of State
information available in this database.
Company and Securities Information
Securities Information Database
• Investext (INVSTXT-PDF) contains analysts’ stock reports
as originally published, including charts, graphs, and
• EDGAR–SEC Filings (EDGAR) contains annual reports,
proxy statements, 10-K and 10-Q reports.
• SEC Electronic Filings (SECNOW) contains the
documents in EDGAR as well as tender offers, registration
statements, and prospectuses. Documents are generally
available on Westlaw within 60 minutes of receipt by the
Company and Securities Information
Securities Information Database
• Securities and Exchange Commission Corporate Filings
(SEC-ONLINE) contains NASDAQ filings.
• Dow Jones Corporate Filings Alert (FEDFILE)
• Insider Stock Transactions (STOCK)
• Due Diligence in Security Transactions
Company and Securities Information
The Company Record
Link in a Edgar
document gives basic
information about the
• Database: EDGAR
• Structured Search: enron in Company Name box, 2001 in
Filing Date box, and a check by Prospectus
• Result: 22 prospectuses filed by Enron with the SEC in
Company and Securities Information
• Database: STOCK
• Structured Search: martha stewart in the Owner Name box
• Result: 68 documents reflecting insider standing as an officer,
director, or policy maker or as a beneficial owner of more
than 10 percent of company stock
• The above document gives the nature of the relationship, the
value of the stock, the name of the broker, the proposed sale
date, and more.
Public Records Databases
Some public records databases have been
discussed in the Litigation, News, or Company
Information and Securities Information Databases
Public Records
Public Records Tabbed Page
This tab page includes links to Assets,
Adverse Filings, Court Records, Corporate
Information, People Locators, and Licensing
Information, and much more. Not all public
record databases can be accessed using a law
student password.
Public Records
Public Records Databases
• Westlaw provides legal professionals with a comprehensive
collection of databases containing public, publicly available,
and proprietary information on individuals and businesses.
• These records
– help identify assets and determine ownership of real
property, motor vehicles, watercraft, aircraft, and
corporate stock
– help locate individuals
– help identify encumbrances and adverse filings, such as
bankruptcy filings, liens, judgments, and UCC filings
• These databases also contain valuable information to assist
in preparing for litigation, such as the status of an existing
action or the name of a registered agent.
Public Records
Public Record Databases
• West complies with all applicable federal, state, and local
laws in the way Westlaw public record databases are
created and made available to the public. The databases
provide high-quality information to legal professionals for
use in investigations, due diligence reviews, and people
• Some databases require that you indicate the purpose of the
search before running the search.
• Most searches can be limited to a specific state(s) by use of
a state-specific database, i.e, PEOPLE-XX (where XX is
the state’s two-letter postal abbreviation) or by a state(s)
selection option on the database Search page.
Public Records
Search Methods
• A Structured Search (fill-in-the-blank) method of searching is
the default method in many of the public records databases.
• The public records databases can also be searched using the
Terms and Connectors search method.
• Natural Language searching is usually not available in these
Public Records
Partially expanded portions of the
Westlaw Directory’s listing of
public records databases
Public Records
Assets Databases
• Asset Locator (ASSET-ALL) searches all assets in 47 states.
(XX-ASSET), where XX is a state’s two-letter postal
abbreviation) searches for assets in an individual state.
• Aircraft Records (AIRCRAFT) lists information upon
registration by the Federal Aviation Administration.
• Motor Vehicle Records–Combined (DMV-ALL) indicates
owner associated with vehicle’s license plate number.
• Stock (STOCK) contains current information on stock
holding and transactions involving at least 10 percent of
stock in public companies.
• Watercraft Records (WATERCRAFT) lists U.S. Coast Guard
records for both recreational and merchant vessels.
• Real Property Tax Assessors and Transaction Records–
Combined (RP-ALL, RPALL-XX) contains abstracts of real
property records maintained by local tax assessors and
transactions derived from local registrars of deeds.
Public Records
• Database: CA-RP
• Structured Search:
maria shriver
• Result: 1 document
• Total Value: $10,474,300.
• Tax Amount: $122.235.
Public Records
People Finder Database
• Death Records (DEATH) lists deceased individuals whose
deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration.
• Person Profile Search (P-PROFILE) lists person’s name
and potential aliases; addresses; telephone number; motor
vehicle and driver’s license information; names of
individuals that may live or had lived at the person’s
addresses; and adverse filings, such as bankruptcy, liens,
and judgments.
• People Finder Credit Header Name and Address Tracker
• People Finder Credit Header Social Security Number
Public Records
People Finder Database
• People Finder Social Security Number Alert (SSN-ALERT)
warns of Social Securities numbers that were never issued by
the Social Security Administration.
• People Finder Telephone Tracker (PEOPLE-PHONE)
• People Finder Name Tracker (PEOPLE-NAME) and People
Finder for individual states (PEOPLE-XX), where XX is a
state’s two-letter postal abbreviation)
• People Finder Skip Tracer (PEOPLE-TRACK) tracks
previous addresses.
Public Records
Adverse Filings Databases
• Adverse Filings–Combined (ADVERSE-ALL) contains all
“adverse” filings against individuals or businesses in all 50
states and the District of Columbia. Includes bankruptcy,
UCC, liens, and lawsuit filings. XX-ADVERSE contains
all state filings, where XX is the state’s two-letter postal
• Bankruptcy Records–Combined (BKR-ALL) filings and
filings for individual states (XX-BKR)
• Liens and Civil Judgments–Combined (LJ-ALL) filings
and fillings for individual states (LJ-XX)
• Uniform Commercial Code–Combined (UCC-ALL) filings
and filings for individual states (UCC-XX)
• Lawsuit Records–Combined (LS-ALL) filings and filings
for for individual states (XX-LS)
Public Records
Other Public Records Databases
• Professional Licenses–Combined (LICENSE-ALL) and for
individual states, XX-LICENSE, where XX is a state’s
two-letter postal abbreviation)
• Professional Licenses–FAA (FAA) contains information
on those registered to pilot an airplane in the United States,
including those living abroad.
• Professional Licenses–DEA (DEA) contains information
on individuals and business who are registered with the
Drug Enforcement Administration authorizing them to
prescribe and handle controlled substances.
• Westlaw contains more than 17,000 databases, many of
which are unfamiliar to law students.
• Many of these databases are extremely useful to the
practicing attorney.
• West Reference Attorneys are always available to help
practicing attorneys, as well as law students, find the
correct databases and help construct effective searches.