How much do small firms or individual practitioners pay for access to Lexis, BNA, and Westlaw?

These seem to be essential tools for effectively engaging with the judicial system, and something of a barrier to entry for anyone not practicing full-time for profit.


2 Answers 2


I checked actual cost. It is just under $400 per month for one license. Here is a cost breakdown if you want some things a la cart and others blanket license. They are a LOT of money and are cost prohibitive unless they are used as a part of your legal practice. That said, everything available on Lexis or Westlaw are available at other, free sites. If you are looking for state and federal statutes, as well as precedent setting cases, those can be found on Findlaw (and other similar sites). Each state also publishes all of their statutes online, as well as law court decisions. The same is true of statutes and legislation. Legislative history can be obtained at any law library. These places also have free access to West and Lexis on their public computers. So they charge a premium for the convenience of having everything in one spot, as well as a variety obtain of other services that wouldn't be relevant to lay persons (like Accurint).

I should amend to say Lexis/West does have things that you cannot just get online such as treatises practice guy, forms, etc. What I meant when I said that you can get pretty much everything for free online was statutes, case law, regs, etc.


I get Fastcase for free as part of the bar membership. I have access to Lexis because of part time work for a firm. So all free.

I was paying $100/m for West a few years ago but I think that was a special deal. Lexis has advertised as low as $175/month for Lexis "Advance". The down side is that your paying for a total POS (but nothing is as horrible as BLAW). My guess is that as Lexis becomes increasingly desperate to get folks off of Lexis and on to the woefully misnamed "Advance" that you will see prices plummet.

I find the value of Lexis is diminishing. It is funny when Lexis pops up a dialog that I would have to pay for something that I will go and get for free instead. The case summaries are dumbed down to useless. The errors in Shepards are so frequent that it cannot be trusted anymore.

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