How West Law was Made: The Company, its Products, and its Promotions


Only in American law is West not primarily a geographical term. When we lawyers think of West we tend to think first of West Publishing Company – the preeminent source of printed law books since before we were born and of electronic law databases in recent years. But despite its importance to the development and dissemination of American law, West itself is a creature most of us do not know much about; we know only its products. That is not our fault, because there is only a little bit of information available, and much of that little bit is hard to find. This Article offers some perspective on the roots of West, the publishing company, and of its primacy (or at least the primacy of its brand) in the consciousness of modern American lawyers.