It seems absolutely clear that given the current economic environment practitioners, especially new associates and summer interns, are in a better position if they know how to use low-cost legal research systems. And, a recent poll by Law Technology News names the low-cost vendor Fastcase as the winner in a Vendor Satisfaction Survey. The survey covered nine factors including customer service, ease of Integration with other technology and brand reputation. From these factors a "Price for Value" rating was calculated. The clear winner was Fastcase with a ranking of 87.5%. Westlaw's ranking was 12.7%. Lexis had a 14.3% ranking.
One of the interesting considerations is that the respondents were spread out over a real cross-section of the sizes of law firms: 28.1% were solos and up to nine lawyers; 19% with 10 to 49 attorneys; 7.3% with 50-99 attorneys; 16.8% with 100-999 lawyers: and 2.6%: 1,000+ lawyers.
Take a look at the LTN posting to read all the details. You should also read the post on 3 Geeks and a Law Blog here for more analysis. As practice patterns change, the use of a low-cost flat-fee service like Fastcase, Loislaw, Casemaker or even a free one like Google Scholar, is becoming a necessity.