The Best Defense

Westlaw & Lexis-Nexis

Most attorneys and law libraries have access to legal databases. Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis are two of the largest. For a fee paid online, these services allow you to search names of people or companies for a history of present and past lawsuits. If a court has awarded a settlement or judgment, this information is also provided. These services are useful when looking to see if a company is litigious or has been the subject of suits from others.

Some major public libraries and most law libraries have access to these services for free or for a small fee. You may want to have an attorney skilled in using these databases do the search for you, however. His or her search would take less time and probably be more thorough than if you tried to do it yourself. For more information, contact Westlaw at (800) 937-8529 or Lexis-Nexis can be reached at (800) 356-6548 or

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This article was originally published in the February 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Best Defense.

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