Multi-jurisdictional statutory research can present many challenges, including trying to account for variations in terms. It is not always intuitive what words
appear in the code books for a jurisdiction. For instance, if you wanted to compare
real property recording statutes for a handful of states, you may not find all
the pertinent provisions by searching only with terms “race-recording” or “race-notice.”
Some states may use less obvious language when setting forth their recording
rules. Westlaw has introduced a new tool that may help overcome this challenge to conducting multi-state statutory
’s Jurisdictional Surveys tool helps users
get a head-start on gathering and comparing laws across US jurisdictions. If you would like to access Jurisdictional Surveys directly, simply slow-type the name of the tool in the Westlaw search bar. You can also access Jurisdictional Surveys when
viewing a particular statute or regulation. You will see a tag icon in the
upper right of the menu bar if there is relevant jurisdictional survey
When you select this icon, you are shown a selection of
index terms that Westlaw editors recommend as being potentially related to your
statute. You can select terms that you think best characterize the subject of
your statute and may appear in other jurisdictions. This way, you are less
likely to miss relevant statutes across jurisdictions and your multi-jurisdictional
comparison will be more complete.
After selecting your index terms, click “Create
Survey.” Your survey overview page displays results organized by jurisdiction
(federal and state) with a United States map visual display.
You can limit to the jurisdiction of your choice as well as
edit your selection of index terms. In each result, the yellow-highlighted
terms are your original terms and the orange-highlighted terms are recommended
synonyms. You can also search within the results to narrow further.
Next time you need to conduct comparative research across jurisdictions,
try out Jurisdictional Surveys in Westlaw. The database's topical indexing could help you get started on this potentially unwieldy type of research.
Posted by Emily E. Roscoe on Fri. November 1, 2019 3:00 PM