Practice Tip: Federal Docket Searching

A regular feature of life for law librarians is docket searching. We all know the woes of using New Jersey’s state court public case access. While we have left behind the buzzing and beeping of our modems from the old dial-up ACMS access in favor of public access on the court website, there is still a lot of room for improvement on the state side. For federal courts, the old reliable PACER is of course still the least expensive option, if not the most graceful.

But could there be something a bit better that doesn’t break the bank? I have been playing around with PacerPro for my federal docket searching ever since I learned about them at AALL this summer. I pay just my regular Pacer charges, and get access to batch downloads of the documents (definitely a time saver), free bookmarking of cases I check on regularly (no more visiting several different court sites and logging in to each one to check on my cases), and also free docket tracking with alerts when there’s an update. PacerPro also has the ability to search within a docket using simple Boolean operators to quickly locate entries. There are online demos about PacerPro on their website and they also are actively setting up live online webinars, so feel free to contact them and check out their offerings to see what you think. Is anyone else using PacerPro, or have any tools or tricks that may make our lives a little easier that they’d like to share with the membership? We would love to set up a regular blog feature of practice tips on any topic written by our knowledgeable NJLLA librarians, so please leave a comment or contact us if you have ideas to share!

Carrie Hayter

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