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WestlawNext and Related Documents: how to ensure you’re getting what you paid for

I’m a fan of WestlawNext’s Related Documents plan. When you’re searching within a database covered by your WestlawNext subscription, the Related Documents plan allows you to click on any of the documents you see listed on the right side of your search results screen without incurring an out-of-plan charge (without Related Documents, you’d get an out-of-plan warning screen). Only the “first click” is free: while you can browse through the table of contents of any analytical source you’ve linked to at no cost, if you view any other section of the source from the table of contents, it will be considered out-of-plan (you’ll get a warning screen and can then choose to cancel or continue).

Unfortunately, as I recently discovered, Related Documents is not accessible from within the highly-touted WestlawNext iOS app. (To the best of my knowledge, it’s not accessible from within the Android, Windows Phone or Blackberry apps, either.) However, there is a work-around: simply access the full WestlawNext website (http://next.westlaw.com) within your mobile browser. While the full WestlawNext site is likely hard to use on cell phone screens, it’s perfectly usable on a tablet.

There is one caveat. One reason I like Related Documents so much is that it also allows you to use ResultsPlus on “Classic” Westlaw. ResultsPlus is similar to Related Documents, but includes only 300 secondary sources, as compared to 5,000+ sources in Recommended Documents. I still use Results Plus because the Related Documents display is limited to (what the WestlawNext algorithm considers to be) the three most relevant secondary source documents, along with the three most relevant briefs and three most relevant trial court documents (a category that includes pleadings, motions, memoranda & affidavits; transcripts; filings; depositions and discovery; verdicts & settlements; proposed orders, agreements and settlements; jury instructions; and expert materials), while ResultsPlus returns many more secondary source links. However, I was not able to access Classic Westlaw on my iPad in either Chrome for iOS or Safari. Therefore, ResultsPlus remains inaccessible for the mobile user.

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