New Look For Secondary Sources On Westlaw

The Alameda County Law Library currently has access via Westlaw to a number of Thomson Reuters secondary sources for legal research.  Digital access includes some California attorney favorites – such as the Rutter Group Practice Guides (aka the California Practice Guides series.)

Westlaw has recently revamped the screen format, making enhancements and adding new features.

Changes include:

  • ability to click on plus or minus signs to expand or reduce table of contents for a document.
  • check off boxes which when used allows the researcher to restrict searching to a section or to request delivery options for that section’s text.

Initial screen for a Westlaw secondary source

On the opening screen for a title, main chapters are shown with a check off box and a plus sign to the left of the title.  The plus sign expands the listing to open up the table of contents.  The box next to it allows the searcher to select the sections for display, searching, and delivery.

Here is an example of the screen views from Civil Procedure Before Trial – (Grey-haired California legal researchers know it as “Brown & Weil” for the original authors, Judge Robert I. Weil (Ret.) and Judge Ira A. Brown, Jr. (Ret.).)

The standard delivery icons for printing, emailing or download appear on the right.  (An in-house test of the new display allowed the email delivery of a full chapter by using the checkoff box.  While using the ACLL subscription, there will be limits to the amount of data that can be transferred.  Best to breakdown your request into smaller segments.)

Below is an illustration for a search for information on “application to the court for an ex parte motion.”

  • Using the plus signs to
    •  open the list of chapters that includes Chapter 9 Part 1 “Law and Motion” and then
    •  open list of topics within that chapter including Section F. “Ex Parte Applications”
  • Clicking on the box to the left of “Ex Parte Applications” changes the message in the search box at the top of the screen to show the researcher that the search will now be conducted only in the “specified content” of that section.

By searching the section for the term “appl!”,  the term is highlighted in the results


The new Westlaw secondary source screen also provides improvement in text display – a clean “reading mode” with only a table of contents additionally provided on the lower screen.  The reading mode selection button is on the upper right.

To ease document navigation, the table of contents for a title is now interactive and browsable on the publications main page.

The Thomson Reuters announcement of the upgrades can be read HERE.



Using Your Laptop To Access WESTLAW At ACLL

WESTLAW access using your personal electronic device at ACLL

Here at Alameda County Law Library we make available, to the public, legal research databases including WESTLAW, LEXIS Advance, CEB’s OnLAW, and HeinOnline.  (HeinOnline is a good source for law reviews and federal legislative and regulatory documents.)  A list of sources available can be reviewed HERE.

The resources can be accessed using the public computers at the libraries in Oakland and Hayward.  Another method for connecting to a select group of databases is to use your own laptop or other electronic device and connect through the library’s wifi network.  Links to do this are found on the Legal Databases webpage.   WESTLAW is one of the resources available by this method.  You can also access OnLAW, HeinOnline and NOLO materials but not LEXIS.

The link for WESTLAW (until recently called WestlawNext) is at the bottom of the screen.  (Sorry not available from your home or office.  Access is restricted to those using ACLL’s network.)

ACLL staff members, Sheila Corman and Emily Bergfeld, have written a step-by-step guide on how to access WESTLAW while at our libraries.  The full Word document can be read here – Accessing Westlaw using your device at ACLL


Here is a summary of the steps –



  • Open the browser on your device.
  • Connect to the network link that reads  Law_Library_Wifi.  No password is needed for access to ACLL’s wifi.
  • Using your browser, go to ACLL’s website –
  • Click on the Library Databases link in the bottom left box on our Home page.  You will move to the page with information about all databases.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the section discussing WestlawNext and click the link for “Patron Access.”
  • WESTLAW will open on your screen.
  • The Use Agreement will appear.
  • Click on “I agree” and the “Continue” button.
  • You are on WESTLAW and can start your research.
  • To download materials to your device – click on the delivery box on the right side and set to the download/arrow icon.  It may be set on “email,” so click on the icon and change to download.  You can select the file drive for saving and the name for the document to complete the downloading process to your folder needs.

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wln_bannerWestlawNext is now available at the Alameda County Law Library using the library’s WiFi system.

What does this mean to our patrons??  They can now access one of the legal research database’s IP authenticated seats while using a laptop or other device at the library.

Connection at the library is made through ACLL’s Legal Databases web page.  Link is at the bottom of the screen.

Westlaw and WestlawNext
Westlaw and WestlawNext with cases, statutes and regulations for all 50 states and the US; American Law Reports, American Jurisprudence and California Jurisprudence legal encyclopedias; California Litigation and Transactions Forms Library; all Rutter Group titles; KeyCite citation checking tool.
WestlawNext is available inside the library via wi-fi at this link:



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Thomson Reuters Retiring Westlaw Classic in 2015

Classic NextThomson Reuters has announced that it will retire the Westlaw Classic platform on August 31, 2015.

Library patrons can currently access both Westlaw Classic and WestlawNext on research computers at the Main and Branch libraries. WestlawNext is a more user-friendly search tool than Westlaw Classic, offering a simplified, Google-style interface and “intuitive” search engine that transforms plain language searches into relevant results.

The library’s WestlawNext subscription includes access to state and federal primary legal materials, Rutter Group practice guides, transactional forms and several legal encyclopedias. Content retrieved from WestlawNext can be printed, saved to a USB drive, or emailed free of charge.

To help library users make the transition from Westlaw Classic to WestlawNext, the library will offer MCLE programs on using WestlawNext in the coming year.