Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Summer Access to LexisNexis and Westlaw

Making a checklist for summer vacation? Whether your plans include bathing-suit shopping or BarBri classes, be sure to extend your Law School LexisNexis and Westlaw passwords if you’ll require access over the summer. After June 1, educational passwords which are not extended will be restricted to a limited list of career and employment databases until the beginning of August.

Extending passwords is as simple as clicking a link, but you must meet one of the exceptions for academic use. Here’s your guide to summer access extensions.


Lexis passwords can be extended for academic purposes over the summer at the Law School welcome screen. “Academic purposes” are defined as:
  • Summer course preparation and assignments
  • Research associated with Moot Court, Law Review, or Law Journal
  • Research associated with pursuing a grant or scholarship
  • Service as a paid or unpaid research assistant to a professor
  • An internship, externship or clinic position for school credit or graduation requirement
  • Study for the bar exam
  • Research skill improvement for educational purposes

Summer access to Westlaw can be requested at Westlaw’s list of exceptions includes:
  • Summer law school classes
  • Law Review and Journal work
  • Project for a professor
  • Moot Court
  • Unpaid non-profit public interest internship/externship or pro bono work required for graduation
Both LexisNexis and Westlaw note that “Academic purposes” do not include research conducted for a law firm, corporation, or other entity (other than a professor or law school) that is paying the student to conduct research, or that is passing along the cost of research to a third party. These are deemed “commercial purposes.” Be sure to read the exceptions carefully and ensure that you qualify for summer access.

Note that law students have summer access to other legal research alternatives, including CasemakerX (an educational version of the research resource which is offered through a number of state bar associations, including North Carolina) and LoisLaw (which is heavily used in New York practice thanks to its affiliation with the NYS Bar Association). If you have questions about extending your Lexis and Westlaw access, or about registering for these low-cost research alternatives, be sure to Ask a Librarian.