According to the ABA Journal clients are pushing back on paying for research on LEXIS, Westlaw and other data bases:
This makes sense to me. As I point out in a comment to this article, a lot of research can be done with free on-line sources starting with Google and other search engines. These lead to case names which lead to other case names, etc. An increasing nubmer of judicial opinions can also be found on line, and there are full citations to other cases that can then easily be found in books in the law library. There is also a lot of secondary material on important topics already in the public domain (law firm memos, briefs, bar association opinions and reports, government agency reports, etc.).
After all of this material is examined for free, an experienced attorney can use Lexis, Westlaw, or a similar paid service to look around for what is left, which in many situations will not be much. I have used these paid services relatively little in the past few years even though they are free for law professors. I am surprised to hear that some law firms are still using paid research data bases so much that they need to send big bills to clients. Those days are long gone and clients know it.