Some Law Firms Encouraging/Requiring Law Students to Violate Westlaw & Lexis Agreements
From the Legal Skills Prof Blog:
The Utah Legal Ethics Advisory Committee considered whether an attorney who encouraged a student to breach her agreement by doing firm-related research had committed an ethical violation. The Committee answered in the affirmative finding that an attorney's misuse of a student's educational Wexis access is theft of services, a potential felony.
Interestingly, the opinion notes that students are increasingly under pressure by employers to use their free Wexis access for firm matters. Indeed, the opinion notes that "numerous" students have reported that their "initial or continued employment" has been conditioned upon a willingness to violate their user agreements with Wexis.
Wow, this is really troubling - especially the part about conditioning employment upon willingness to violate a user agreement.
But it provides a good opportunity to remind WisBlawg readers that there are ways to legitimately access legal information at no or low cost. See our Wisconsin Legal Information Sources Guide for tips on what information is available and how to access it.
For example, did you know that the UW Law Library, Wisconsin State Law Library, and Milwaukee & Dane County Legal Resource Centers all offer free walk-in access to numerous legal databases, including Westlaw? Attorneys can even access some databases remotely with a Wisconsin State Law Library card.