Federal Court Records and Briefs

Coverage in online databases generally exists from the late 1990’s forward.  If you need cases prior to that time, the best option is to contact the Court’s clerk’s office and ask for assistance.  Use one of our Judicial Staff Directories for more information. 

PACER:  This is the official case location system for the federal government, but searches are somewhat limited (not full text).  PACER requires you register for an individual login. For more information, please see the information under PACER on the Library Database Passwords (YLS NetID required) page of the YLS Inside site.

  • The case locator allows you to search multiple courts at the same time. 
  • If you have a specific court you’d like to search you can log into the individual court PACER site.
  • If a document number is hyperlinked you can download it.
  • Note: every Federal Court maintains their own PACER site which is why you have to search them individually. But your password will work across all sites.

WestlawWestlaw has integrated their Dockets product into both WestlawNext. This includes full coverage of Federal Court dockets (same data from PACER) and state court coverage.

  • Dockets on WestlawNext are easy to find and use.
  • While some documents and filings are available, some will tell you that Access is Denied. You can also check the “Filings” tab when you find a docket to see if any of the case documents are available.

LexisNexis:  Lexis Advance includes dockets searching. Select “Dockets” from the “Content Type” menu on the home screen.  

  • Some court filings are available on Lexis.  To search filings select “Briefs, Pleadings, and Motions” from the “Content Type” menu on the  home screen.  
Bloomberg - Bloomberg has incorporated dockets into their new legal research system and allows for full-text searching. This includes full coverage of Federal Court dockets (same data from PACER) and state court coverage.  Contact Eric Malinowski for a password.
  • Simply select “Dockets” from the top menu when log in to search their dockets.  
  • Links that are blue indicate a document is available to download. Green links mean a document is not available.

Transcripts:

Transcripts are usually not available to the public.  If the case has been appealed by one of the litigants, they will sometimes request a transcript from the court reporter, which may then appear in the docket.  To determine whether a transcript is available, the best option is to contact the clerk’s office and ask for assistance.  Use one of our Judicial Staff Directories for more information.

2nd Circuit Specific Information

Other sources