Ways to access the federal docket on PACER

November 8th, 2011

Justia has a list of great references here.

Public.resources.org has lots of pilfered pleadings. The Bulk files are here.

This article about gaining access to government data is also cool.

CourtListener is cool, and scans the federal reporters daily. His thesis is here.

Lexis has a product called CourtLink:

Quickly develop complete strategic profiles of your opposition

With 20 years of court records data, CourtLink® Strategic Profiles will help you gain insight into opposing counsel’s practice-area experience, preferred strategies and history with specific judges. Research the history of opposing litigants to uncover prior similar cases and discern patterns of case resolution.

Gather strategic intelligence on judges assigned to your cases

With CourtLink judicial profiles, you can learn whether the judge assigned to your case has substantial or limited experience in a particular area of law, and learn how the judge has ruled in similar cases in the past.

And these strategic profiles look cool:

How many cases like mine has this firm actually represented in the past three years? How many have they won? How often does the subject of my news article get sued for product liability? Are asbestos litigation filings in Pennsylvania on the rise?

LexisNexis Courtlink Strategic Profiles help you gain insight into the litigation history of a company, attorney experience on a particular nature or suit, or map out federal litigation trends. Strategic profiles present court docket information in easy to read graphics and data charts, allowing you to quickly identify trends, opportunities and risk. Strategic Profiles allow you to review litigation history from several angles, including:

  • Judicial Strategic Profiles: Determine a presiding judge’s experience in a specific area of law or how the judge has handled similar cases.
  • Attorney Strategic Profiles: Determine an attorney or firm’s experience level with a specific case type. Learn whether the attorney has argued similar cases or before a specific judge and see prior strategies employed, including case resolution.
  • Litigant Strategic Profiles: Research the litigation history of the plaintiff or defendant to uncover prior participation in similar cases and discern patterns of case resolution.
  • Nature of Suit Profile: View nature of suit trends and identify areas of increasing or decreasing litigation nationally. Compare trends on a court-by-court basis. Monitor case types that seem to be on the decline and flag emerging risk. Gain insight into market trends to make well informed decisions.
NOw I wonder how this works. Is it done through data crunching, or automatically .
Westlaw has a product called Court Express. Demo here.
Westlaw speaks of something called KNOS (Key Nature of Suit):


KNOS classifications provide a uniform basis for identifying dockets by case type across state and federal jurisdictions. To limit your search by KNOS classification, click Available KNOS Selections on the search template, then click the plus and minus symbols to browse the classifications. Select the check boxes for one or more classifications and click Save. At the search template, the KNOS classifications you selected are displayed in the Key Nature of Suit (KNOS) text box. To edit your selection, click Edit KNOS Selections.


In civil litigation in U.S. district courts, NOS codes are used to classify the subject matter of lawsuits. A code is selected at the outset of litigation when the filing attorney completes the civil cover sheet (JS-44). To limit your search by NOS code, select a code from the NOS Code list box when you are searching U.S. district courts.

LegalDockets.com seems rather ghetto.
This article about the failings of Pacer is good.
The Center for Information TEchnology Policy at Princeton also seems like a key.