COVID-19 and Racial Justice Resources in Westlaw, Lexis, Bloomberg Law, and HeinOnline

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Several major legal information providers have created pages in their databases that collect materials relating to the pandemic and ongoing racial justice protests and issues in the U.S. This post will consider Westlaw, Lexis, Bloomberg, and HeinOnline; all four have content addressing these issues, but the presentation and materials may differ.

These databases divide access to materials between the two topics, though many discussions of these issues, and research conducted by legal faculty and students, focus on the connections between them. Many scholars agree that the pandemic is having disproportionate effects on minority communities in the U.S. and believe that discontent with the handling of the pandemic has intensified concerns about racial justice. For example, Ruth Faden, a Library of Congress Council of Scholars member and founder of the Johns Hopkins Institute of Bioethics, gave an interview with the LOC in July where she discussed how both the pandemic and continuing racial injustice highlight structural injustice in the U.S. Though the databases may split their tools, legal researchers can still use them to explore the connections between the pandemic and racial justice in the U.S.


Westlaw offers a page for “Civil Rights Legal Materials and News” and one for “COVID-19 Legal Materials and News.” Links to both are currently located on the homepage in a tan box on the right under the title “Featured Topics.”

Westlaw’s COVID coverage offers a wealth of material. A map of the U.S. is at the top of the page, and users can click on a state to see all related Covid-19 documents. There is also a separate button for federal materials. The page also has links directly to federal legislation, presidential proclamations and executive orders, administrative decisions and guidance, state legislation, state executive orders, cases, court emergency orders and information, and more. Links to recent related news articles from Reuters are at the very bottom of the page. Links to other toolkits are located on the right hand side of the page.

Westlaw’s “Civil Rights Legal Materials and News” page is less robust. It currently offers links to resources under the categories “police conduct,” “unwarranted criminal prosecution,” “right to protest,” and “voting rights.” The Civil Rights page also has links to recent news articles from Reuters on civil rights topics at the bottom.


Lexis offers a page for “COVID-19 Resources” and one for “Social Justice Resources.” Links to both are currently located on the Lexis homepage on the right side of the screen.

The Lexis COVID-19 resources are five “kits” that link out to different parts of the Lexis database, utilizing different tools. The “Intelligize” kit provides insight and analysis into SEC topics like disclosure guidance and compliance management. The “Law360” kit links out to legal news sources on the pandemic. Metrics on the federal district court system related to COVID are under the “Lex Machina” kit, and the “Practical Guidance” kit breaks down coverage and resources by practice areas like Antitrust, Bankruptcy, Civil Litigation, etc. Finally the “State Net” kit provides access to federal and state government materials dealing with the coronavirus. Though the landing page for Lexis COVID-19 resources only has those five boxes, following the links to the various kits provides access to a wide variety of materials from across Lexis’ many tools.

Like Westlaw, Lexis’ resources on “Social Justice” are less robust. Lexis offers three kits, one on “Practical Guidance” for voting rights, on on “Practical Guidance” for protesters’ rights, and a “State Net” kit on federal and state government activity related to racial equality and police reform.

Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg has two links on its homepage under the “Featured” heading that speak to current events. One is titled “In Focus: Remaining Operational” and the other is “In Focus: Coronavirus.”

The Coronavirus page provides links out to Bloomberg Law analysis, top news stories, “fast answers” on federal response and HR considerations, related pages, many different trackers for news and legal developments, and a number of boxes that break resources down by practice area, including small business administration, leave and benefits, employment law, and many more. Bloomberg also highlights some of its international resources for COVID related topics.

The “Remaining Operational” page focus on business, litigation, and transactional research. Bloomberg is traditionally strong in these areas, and this page provides targeted resources like chart builders for various areas of related law, legal analysis, Bloomberg news articles, and webinars.

Bloomberg does not currently have a separate page for Civil Rights or Social Justice, but they do offer a “social justice and diversity” filter for news stories.


HeinOnline has several related resources for these current events. They have a database for “Civil Rights and Social Justice” and one for “COVID-19 in America: Response, Issues, and Law.”

The COVID page breaks down resources into an introduction, all titles, economics, global impact, health, society, scholarly articles, and external links. Each page contains links to legal and historical materials related to the subject.

The “Civil Rights and Social Justice” page on Hein is the most robust of all the databases, offering links particularly to legislative, judicial, and agency materials on topic, as well as scholarly articles and other related works. Hein provides more access to historical materials than many other sites and works related to racial justice are helpfully gathered in this page. Hein also has other related collections that may assist researchers interested in these issues; their “History of Capital Punishment” and “Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture, and Law,” are both excellent collections of legal and historical materials on those topics. HeinOnline also provides access to a number of UNC Press titles related to racial justice and African-American history.

Posted by Ellie Campbell on Fri. October 30, 2020 1:00 PM
Categories: Uncategorized

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