This post originally ran on our Legal Current Blog.
We all know Westlaw is a useful tool for law librarians and attorneys, but you may not know that Westlaw benefits another group – journalists.
As we highlighted in a previous post, with the wealth of information on Westlaw, it’s no wonder Reuters journalists such as Brian Grow use it to help them pursue investigative stories. One example of this is a recent story Brian and fellow journalist Kelly Carr crafted that begins with a small house in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Through their research, they discovered that this 1,700-square-foot house serves as the headquarters for a company called Wyoming Corporate Services. With more than 2,000 companies registered there, Wyoming Corporate Services specializes in establishing shell and “shelf” corporations, which are companies that exist only on paper without assets or operations . Shelf corporations provide a variety of benefits to companies, such as easier access to credit and bidding on contracts. Shell and shelf corporations are not in themselves illegal; however, they are a popular vehicle in the underground economy and have been used to commit fraud on an international scale.
Brian worked with Westlaw contacts Mary Kivimaki and Leah Hauge, both former reference attorneys, to gather research and documentation on the house in Wyoming. He calls Westlaw a “one-stop shop to support a story.”
With only the address in Cheyenne to start with, Brian searched in Westlaw public records databases and found dozens of supporting documents from companies that had been using the house for their shell and shelf companies. With access to this information he and Kelly were able to uncover quite a story. Read the full story here.
Brian says that he has used Westlaw as a resource many times and that it is a growing trend among fellow Reuters reporters. “I can’t overstate how valuable Westlaw is to Reuters journalists,” says Brian.
The way Reuters journalists use Westlaw for research is just one example of how we share our incredible depth of content with different sides of the business. To learn more about another endeavor in which journalists are teaming up with Westlaw, check out our Legal Current blog post on Thomson Reuters News and Insight.