Do Not Use “Free” Lexis or Westlaw for Work – A Reminder from Utah State Bar

It is well known that most law students in the U.S. have free [seemingly unlimited] use of major online subscription research databases. But use of these databases is an educational privilege and restricted to educational and nonprofit purposes (research and studies).

The Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Committee found that an attorney’s misuse of a student’s educational Lexis or Westlaw access is not only an ethical violation but also amounts to theft of services, a criminal act (a potential felony).  According to the Committee’s November 15, 2011 ethics opinion, “numerous” students have reported that their “initial or continued employment” has been conditioned upon a willingness to violate their agreements with respect to research services.

You can read the whole opinion here.

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