At the 2001 Annual Meeting, librarians and vendor representatives agreed to pursue the drafting of a goals document that would outline how computer-assisted legal research (CALR) product vendors (at that time, specifically LexisNexis and Westlaw) and law school libraries could best work together. A committee – composed of chair Nancy McMurrer, Mike Bushbaum, Suzanne Cassidy, Stephanie Davidson, Margaret Leary, and Jane Underwood – drafted a proposal over the next year, which also reflected input by LexisNexis and Westlaw representatives.
At the 2002 Annual Meeting this proposal was discussed. In addition to LexisNexis and Westlaw officials, representatives from Loislaw, Quicklaw America, and VersusLaw were invited to attend and one did. These vendors also have programs for law student access to their products. The proposed document was discussed, changes were offered and accepted, and it was then adopted by those present.
This document attempts to describe the type of relationship between CALR vendors and law school librarians that would best serve the interests of law students. It is divided into three parts: People, Products, and Services. It is not designed to be a rigid set of rules, since every school functions a bit differently. Instead, it is a set of goals to be modified to meet the needs of each school. At the very least, it attempts to highlight the different areas of interaction that each school may wish to address with its vendor representatives.
LexisNexis and Westlaw have the largest presence in law schools, with employees who work solely with law schools and student representatives hired by the vendors. Many law schools have hardware provided by those vendors as well. The document was drafted with these two vendors specifically in mind. However, other smaller CALR vendors also have law student access programs (presently, Loislaw, Quicklaw America, and VersusLaw), though without the level of support provided by LexisNexis and Westlaw. Thus, some of the specific sections of the document are not applicable to them. The principles expressed in many of the sections, however, are applicable and it is hoped all parties will consider them worthwhile.