Is a question we are frequently asked.  The answer is, as any good law school answer is, it depends.  First, it depends on why you are doing your research.  If you are doing research for an academic purpose – you are working on a journal article, doing research for a faculty member, you’re taking a class, or even if you are only doing your research to sharpen your research skills, you may use any of your passwords.  This counts as academic use and is allowed and expected.

If, however, you are using a password in your summer placement, it depends on the service.

Westlaw has restrictions.  You can not use Westlaw or Practical Law in a commercial setting.  Westlaw defines a commercial setting as you being paid by your employer for you summer placement. That means if you are receiving a stipend from the Law School (and nothing from your employer) your work is non-commercial.

Lexis and Bloomberg Law let you use their services freely during the summer.  They more or less consider letting law students use their services in summer placements as free advertising.

BUT – there is a caveat to using your law school accounts in your summer placement.  Get the permission of your supervisor first, especially if you are working at a law firm.  Many firms bill back online service charges to their clients.  The project you are working on this summer might be transferred to an associate after you leave.  We have heard from law firm librarians about clients who complain about price-gouging when, in August, their legal bills suddenly increase.

Can I Use My Lexis/Westlaw/Bloomberg Password In the Summer?

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