About the Blogger

Legal Beagle's picture

The Legal Beagle’s favorite book and that of dog lovers everywhere is Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must Have Book for Your Owner by Mary Randolph (KF390.5 .D6 R36 2005). His favorite movie is about the crime fighting pooch, Underdog! His current hero is Uno, the beagle who won Best in Show at the...

Affordable Excellence at RWU LAW

Legal Beagle's Post

Use of Student Westlaw and LexisNexis Access for an Attorney

Posted by Library Blog on 01/26/2012 at 04:26 PM

Have you used, been pressured to use, or wondered if it is okay to use your student Westlaw or LexisNexis access to conduct research on behalf of an attorney or law firm with whom you are employed?  If you are doing this, then stop.  If you have been pressured to do this, do not give in.  If you have wondered if it is okay, the answer is “NO.”    The Legal Skills Prof blog recently reported on this very issue.

The Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Committee was asked to consider whether it is a violation of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct for an attorney to ask a law student to undertake research using the law student’s free account and in breach of the student’s contract with Lexis and/or Westlaw.  The Committee answered in the affirmative, opining that such research amounts to theft of services because students have signed user agreements restricting free research to educational and nonprofit purposes. The Committee points out that misusing student’s LexisNexis and/or Westlaw access violates a lawyer’s duty of supervision and is conduct involving dishonesty or misrepresentation.  Here’s a link to the opinion, the LexisNexis Terms and Conditions and the Westlaw Terms and Conditions.


To read an ABA or a state’s ethics opinion, access the Law Library’s e-resource ABA/BNA Manual on Professional Responsibility.