Jim Guest, Parter, Downie Stewart, Westlaw NZ User

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Jim Guest


Downie Stewart


Organisation size: 25

Jim Guest, Partner, Downie Stewart, Westlaw NZ User

Jim's background

Jim is a partner in one of Dunedin’s oldest and most respected law firms. His areas of expertise are insolvencies, civil litigation and family law. He is regularly appointed by the Family Court as an independent lawyer for children and for people with disabilities. He also receives appointments from the Court to act as Counsel to assist the Court as well as to act in Hague Convention disputes (international disputes over custody of children). He is a Family and Alternative Dispute Resolution author for Thomson Reuters (Brookers) - a leading resource for NZ lawyers.

Jim is a Fellow of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of NZ and is on all of the panels of recommended arbitrators and mediators maintained by the Institute (this includes specialist Construction and Rural panels). He is a Member New Zealand Law Society Family Mediators Panel and is contracted to Fairway Resolution to mediate in Family Court disputes.

How Jim uses Westlaw NZ

Jim was an early IT enthusiast and convert to the online digital world. "I remember when the firm got its first PC for research. It sat on a desk in the library and we had dial up access, by today’s standards it was unbelievably slow. A page took an age to load, search results were problematic and notes still needed to be made on paper." Fast forward a decade or so, and along comes Westlaw NZ.

"I use Westlaw NZ for all my research. I understand how some people are reluctant to spend the time needed to become familiar with how it works, and I know it needs regular use for that familiarity to become second nature, but I think time spent learning how to use Westlaw NZ is well and truly worth it. Nibbling around the edges of its functionality will never reveal its possibilities.

"For example, through Westlaw NZ I have immediate access to the entire NZ Law library and that’s a huge advantage. It’s there at my finger tips, any time I want it. I don’t need to get up and physically go to a specialist collection of materials, talk to a librarian, or check the shelves to see if what I want is in. There are no business hours to work around, Westlaw NZ is open 24 hours a day. Whatever I need is always available."

Coupled with its unlimited access, Jim uses the inbuilt search tools extensively. "I can now do increasingly complex and refined searching I wouldn’t have contemplated undertaking in a purely paper based system. I experience much less frustration and increased work efficiency.” Jim recommends spending the time to train, to save time. “There is so much Westlaw NZ can do to help you maximize your time and effectiveness."

How Westlaw NZ helps Jim

Westlaw NZ helps Jim in many ways. "The first way it helps is regardless of where I am, the entire Law Library is with me. If I’m in my office in Dunedin, it’s there. If I’m at my home-away-from-home in Naseby, it’s there. And it’s on my lap or desk top too, especially important if I am doing a case in a Court away from my home town of Dunedin. In fact, I can even have access to research at counsels’ bench in a courtroom."

The second way is that he knows he can rely on Westlaw NZ to deliver what he wants, quickly. "I got a phone call from a major client involved in the hospitality industry with a query related to licensing. Despite not being particularly familiar with the area, I found the answer he needed and I did it while the customer waited on the other end of the phone line. It took me 10 -15 minutes! I was even able to e-mail the search result to the client directly from within Westlaw NZ. Needless to say the client was hugely impressed and very grateful!"

"I can now do increasingly complex and refined searching I wouldn’t have contemplated undertaking in a purely paper based system. I experience much less frustration and increased work efficiency."