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Thomson Reuters Westlaw. Basic Information

FEBRUARY 2016 UPDATE: WestlawNext is renamed Thomson Reuters Westlaw. Announcement here.

About this Guide

This Guide provides a basic introduction to Westlaw for academic users. 

Specifically the Guide is for students at the University of Maine School of Law. It is most useful for those just starting to learn Westlaw.


Getting Started

  •  Westlaw allows the searcher to start any search from the first page.  
  •  The Reseacher is not required to choose a database.
  •  Enter terms in search box.  Example:  547 U.S. 398


Westlaw allows the researcher to begin from one common box.

Terms and Connector Searching

  • Example:  landlord & tenant   Finds landlord and tenant in the same document.
  • Example:   landord /5 tenant   Finds the word landlord within five words of tenant.   Can use any number in this search.
  • Example:  landord /s tenant    Finds landlord and tenant in the same sentence
  • Example:  landlord /p tenant    Finds landlord and tenant with in the same paragraph.


  • Westlaw embeds KeyCite in each document.  
  • Every Primary Source intended to be used by the Researcher should be run through KeyCite
  • Ensures your case or statute is "good law".
  • Indicates when a case has been overturned or questioned.
  • Indicates if a Statute has changes pending.
  • Leads the Researcher to more primary and secondary sources "on point".

Obtaining Passwords

Contact the Law Reference staff to obtain registration information. Only Law Students, Law Faculty and Law Staff may register for Westlaw. or 207-780-4351

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