West offers new research service — shoe leather

In an age when it sometimes seems as though if it ain’t online it don’t exist, there is something almost quaint about the latest announcement from West, titled: “West Now Offers Additional Method for Obtaining Documents.”

The announcement sets the stage: “For those occasions when a document is not available in any of the more than 17,000 Westlaw databases, West now offers West Document Retrieval, a service that specializes in obtaining hard-to-locate federal, state and local government documents, as well as public-domain documents.”

How does it obtain these hard-to-find documents? It sends people out to get them. Here’s how the announcement puts it: “West Document Retrieval obtains the documents nationwide through its extensive network of staff and independent agents. Requests are initiated within 24 to 48 hours, with rush service also available.”

So when online searching fails you, here’s the number for West Document Retrieval: (877) 362-7387. The announcement says that, later this year, you will be able to request documents by completing a form online.