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May 24, 2010
WestlawNext Plan for Law Schools Coming Into View
Some of the WestlawNext plan for academics is starting to make its way to the market. The buzz is West will give all school faculty, librarians, and staff access to WestlawNext some time in July. Students will get access by the beginning of the spring semester at the latest. The roll-out should not require the law schools to do anything. By that I'm assuming all the OnePass IDs that are out there will work. The date to convert all existing Westlaw number/letter access codes to OnePass is June 1. I wonder if schools will have the option of not accepting the new product. Some schools may want to transition to the new product on their own schedule. Will the legal research and writing programs be ready to switch to the new interface? This isn't a one-sided arrangement, after all.
Schools may apply to West for a pre-release trial access to WestlawNext for students in fall. The trial will test the roll-out for problems before it goes live to all schools. The pre-release trial is limited and schools must apply via email to West by June 1. Note the short deadline. If anyone wants to contribute the email address in the comments, feel free.
There is apparently no plan to raise prices for access in the current academic year, though there is nothing out there about contracts that follow. A most interesting strategy. Once law school librarians, faculty, staff, and especially students start using WestlawNext, it is going to be awfully hard to drop it later when there are price increases. Nonetheless, West will compete with itself and Lexis as long as old classic Westlaw is out there. [MG]