Woe is me! We come here to praise Westlaw Classic, not to bury it! Thomson Reuters has slain the version of Westlaw that we all knew so well for so long. For several years now, Thomson Reuters has been encouraging its users to utilize its new Westlaw Next platform, a newer and less archaic version of Westlaw with search features more like those employed by Internet users. Yes, it’s handy, but it is not Westlaw Classic (which, we still refer to as Westlaw, just as we still refer to Coca-Cola Classic as Coke. Of course, by that analogy, Westlaw Next is the New Coke of legal research products, a jarring fact which requires further analysis).
More than a decade and a half ago, the more senior members of Abnormal Use first began to use Westlaw. Although its functionality may become somewhat dated, and although the utility of its successor might be easier for the modern user, we here at Abnormal Use cling to our older, more familiar software. Indeed, we will miss the research methodology we employed for so long. In this respect, we are not unlike the preverbal mumpsimus, the stubborn adherent to ways long ago superseded or otherwise discredited. But, in the end, as we age, we know that we know what we know, and on this issue, we know how to utilize Westlaw Classic quite well. But now it belongs to the ages.
As of this past weekend, Westlaw Classic is no more. In fact, as we logged into Westlaw Classic these past few months, Thompson Reuters prompted us with an ominous digital reminder that its days were numbered:
Thus, for some time, we knew the end was near, and we have not been this melancholy about an imminent demise since the last days of “Breaking Bad.”
What will we do? We suppose we must learn to adapt to Westlaw Next. But not before we mourn Westlaw Classic one last time.
Requiescat in pace, Westlaw Classic.