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5 ways small law firms can save thousands on legal research

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Affordable legal research is a ‘holy grail’ for large and small law firms alike. Unfortunately, finding the best choice for your firm can take hours of research and often, a leap of faith. New technologies are challenging traditional legal research providers like LexisNexis to offer more flexible pricing, and we’ve done the legwork to help you secure the most affordable legal research for your firm.

  1. Choose transparent pricing

Traditionally, legacy legal research providers negotiate each legal research contract in secret, requiring you to sign an NDA about the pricing and other terms of your contract.

According to publicly available data regarding LexisNexis and Westlaw contracts, the same service can range wildly—we’ve seen contracts from $1,200 to $14,000 per year per attorney for very similar plans. For small law firms, that kind of unnecessary cash outflow can be devastating.

New entrants providing innovative solutions—including Casetext, Fastcase, and Casemaker—are shifting market dynamics with open and transparent pricing, and traditional legal research providers like LexisNexis and Westlaw are taking note.
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2. Opt-out of restrictive legal research contracts

You may already be locked in contract with LexisNexis or Westlaw, but thanks to the marketplace shifts we just discussed, you can now do something about it.

Call your sales representative and let them know you’re aware of new pricing alternatives, and press them to match. They often have wide latitude on pricing, and they won’t want to lose a customer.

Or, ditch the contract entirely and save big by switching to an online, affordable legal research platform. Casetext offers free access to our virtual law library until your LexisNexis or Westlaw contract expires.

3. Watch out for hidden fees

Long-term agreements are one way to score affordable legal research from traditional legal research providers, but check the fine print before you sign on the dotted line. LexisNexis’ new pricing includes a $25 a month “administrative fee.” This means their lowest plan, priced at $75 a month, will add another $300 to your annual legal research bill.

“Administrative fees” aren’t the only surprise charges you may encounter. This brings us to our next step toward affordable legal research for large or small law firms:

4. Beware out-of-plan case search penalties

If you opt for a limited plan, make sure you know what your plan does—and does not—include. If it only covers your state’s caselaw, you risk incurring thousands in out-of-plan charges during your court case search. Out-of-plan penalties can get expensive, fast.

You may need to access caselaw outside of your state to build a case when your jurisdiction hasn’t ruled on an issue and another jurisdiction’s precedent can be persuasive authority. If your court case search doesn’t include this, opposing counsel’s almost certainly will—and you risk losing more than the price of penalties.

Or, say “no” to out-of-plan penalties entirely. At Casetext, we offer everything in our online law library database for a single, low price.

5. Switch to an online, affordable legal research platform

If you really want to save thousands on affordable legal research, large and small law firms alike can take advantage of the savings and convenience of online law library platforms.

Here’s a snapshot of how Casetext compares to LexisNexis:

• Casetext offers all jurisdictions, caselaw, briefs, and more in our extensive online database, for $65 a month (with an annual plan). For $420 more per year, you only have access to one state’s laws with LexisNexis.

• No hidden fees or out-of-state penalties: With Casetext, you pay one price for everything in your court case search. LexisNexis out-of-plan fees can add up to thousands of dollars.

• Greater convenience with new technologies, like AI-enhanced, drag-and-drop search and enhanced analysis.

Supercharge your next court case search—test-drive Casetext with our free, no-risk trial. Already in a traditional contract? Make the switch with free access until your LexisNexis or Westlaw contract expires.

Large and small law firms save on affordable legal research

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to legal research, and it’s important when choosing your firm’s court case search solution to consider the range of options available. Look at contracts versus transparent pricing, hidden fees, what a service does and doesn’t include, and whether new technologies offering improved convenience and affordability is right for you.

Bottom line: There’s no reason to blindly subject your firm’s finances to yesterday’s pricing chokehold. Consider your legal research options!

Try Casetext today https://casetext.com/trial


Casetext is a legal research platform that combines A.I. search technology with affordable, transparent pricing to help lawyers spend less time and money on legal research, and more time lawyering.