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Summer Clerks Research Guide

Strategies and research tips for working law students

Federal Dockets

Practice Tip: Try Bloomberg Law for docket research.

Requesting Docket Material and Court Filings

In general, your best bet for docket material and court filings is going to be Bloomberg Law

  • You may be asked to search for material on PACER, a fee-based database for federal dockets. Everything on PACER is available for free to law students through Bloomberg Law.
  • The firm you work for may or may not be aware of this, since Bloomberg has not been around as long as other legal databases.

Federal Docket Pointers

Keep these pointers in mind whenever you are researching court filings and docket material:

  • Every case has a unique docket number.
  • Every case has a docket sheet, a numbered chronology of everything filed.
  • Check the docket coverage map first.
    • Some courts only provide the electronic docket sheet, and you need to call the Clerk's office to get the filings.