Legal professionals have lots of options for fee-based legal research services these days, but the most popular among them all is WestlawNext, according to the latest ABA Legal Technology Survey Report. Of all lawyers who use fee-based online legal research services, 28 percent say the one they use most often is WestlawNext.

And as if that wasn’t market share enough for Thomson Reuters, lawyers’ second choice is Westlaw, the “classic” version of the service that predated the 2010 launch of WestlawNext, cited by 26 percent of lawyers. Two other Thomson Reuters products also make the list, RIA Checkpoint and Practical Law Company.

Lexis comes in as third most popular, at 24 percent. Lexis Advance, its next-generation research platform launched in December 2011, is cited by only 5 percent of lawyers.

Here is how it breaks down:

Lawyers’ preferences for legal research services vary with the size of firm they are in. For example, among solos, the most popular service is Lexis, with a quarter of all solos citing it as the service they use most often. Here is the breakdown for solos:

  • Lexis, 25.6%.
  • Westlaw, 17.1%.
  • WestlawNext, 15.4%.
  • Other services, 12%.
  • Fastcase, 9.4%.
  • Lexis Advance, 8.5%.
  • Loislaw and Casemaker, 3.4% each.
  • RIA Checkpoint, 2.6%.
  • CCH, 1.7%.
  • BNA, 0.9%.
  • Bloomberg Law and PLC, 0%.

At the other end of the spectrum, at large firms of 500 or more lawyers, 31.4 percent report that Westlaw is the service they use most often, followed by Lexis at 22.1 percent. Only 3.5 percent say that they most often use Bloomberg Law.

Not only does size of firm reflect which service lawyers are most likely to use, but also a lawyers’ position within a firm. Nearly half of all associates (47 percent) say the service they use most often is WestlawNext. Among partners, the most commonly used service is Westlaw, at 32 percent.

The Legal Technology Survey Report is published in six volumes. Each volume can be purchased for $350 or, for ABA members, for $300. The volumes are:

A combined edition and executive summary will be available later this month.

The findings discussed above came from the volume on online research.

[For my other reports from the survey, see Number of ‘Virtual’ Law Practices Shows Decline in 2013 ABA Technology SurveyThe Most Popular Apps for Lawyers, According to ABA Tech SurveyLawyers’ Use of Cloud Shows Big Jump in ABA Tech Survey, and Lawyers’ Social Media Use Grows Modestly, ABA Annual Tech Survey Shows.]

  • I’m surprised that Bloomberg/BNA rates that low. I had thought it was making something of a move in the market.

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  • Lexis needs to bear down and “lean in,” especially on behalf of their Lexis Advance product. If these statistics are correct, and Lexis Advance is only at 5% of the marketplace, then they have a huge base of new customers in their near future if they can market the product effectively. No reason their percentage should be that low, compared with WestlawNext — primarily just the fact that WLN was introduced first…and with more of a bang.

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  • What about other free sources, like Wikipedia or Google Schoolar?. Maybe lawyers do not want recognize its use.

    Note: the Survey was sponsored by Lexis and Thomson.

    • THEFred

      The only advantage free sources have over WestlawNext and Lexis Advance is that they’re free. In every other aspect of legal research, Westlaw and Lexis blow them away. If that wasn’t true, Westlaw and Lexis wouldn’t be far more popular among actual users in spite of their high cost.

  • Following my opinion, in 2012, the Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section (ALL-SIS) of the American Association of Law Libraries appointed a Task Force that distributed a survey on the legal research practices of attorneys. In the survey, 61.4% of responding attorneys reported that they use free Web resources in their legal research frequently or very frequently. Only 12.6% reported using them rarely or never.