Understanding how a statute has changed—either recently or over many years—is a very tedious and sometimes frustrating task. Often, you spend your time reading through years’ worth of statutes to get an idea as to how the legislature amended the law. In some cases, updates are obvious. But when only minor changes have taken place, it can be difficult to comprehend what has occurred with a quick glance. Particularly with long statutes, this can be a huge drain on the time spent researching for your client. However, the time that it takes is not the biggest issue that attorneys run into when comparing statutes. There is a high risk that you are missing something important that may affect your case when you do this work manually.
In the past, you had few options other than painstakingly combing through the law to identify legislative changes. But today, technology can help you get this work done faster and with less risk of an oversight. Westlaw Edge is the only legal research service to offer a tool that highlights changes to a statute over time. This feature, called Statues Compare, reduces the time you spend on legal research so that you can move on to advising your client—the most important part of legal practice.
Comprehend legislative history quickly
Statutes Compare allows you to compare any two versions of a statute so that you can see the most recent amendments to a statute or see how a statute has changed over time. Whether there are 150 versions, or just two, you can easily view additions and deletions in the text or title of the statute (and, where applicable, changes to numbering), to make sure you’re seeing the full history of the law.
Save yourself the time of reading through years of sessions laws, carefully locating the relevant sections in each, to determine the full scope of how a statute has changed.
See what some of our Westlaw Edge customers are saying about Statutes Compare:
How has no one done this already? It turns a 15-minute task into a 3-minute task. —Corporate Counsel, $100M Software Company
In addition to saving time, it is also good for accuracy. This feature will make you a better lawyer. —Associate, Am Law 100
Manage risks for your clients
For laws with particularly lengthy statutes of limitations (or no limitation period), knowing the law at the time a cause of action accrued can be essential to properly litigating the action. With Statutes Compare, you can more quickly and accurately determine what has changed, even if the law has been amended multiple times in the intervening period.
Continue reading the full article.
Bonus: Check out these related articles for more legal research insights:
- 3 Ways to Better Set Client Expectations with Litigation Analytics
- 5 Reasons to Use Litigation Analytics on Westlaw Edge
- Is My Legal Research Accurate?
About the Author
Rachel Beithon is a Consultant with the Reference Attorneys at Thomson Reuters. She graduated with a Juris Doctorate from the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minnesota, and the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. She joined the Reference Attorneys in 2011 and enjoys traveling internationally in her spare time.