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Pritzker Legal Research Center


Litigation Practice Materials

Overview and Coverage

For Northwestern Law students, ​Bloomberg Law is the go-to resource for federal court case dockets and filings.  If you are asked to use PACER to find a docket or filing, use Bloomberg Law, instead, as the coverage is the same.

 

Coverage is as follows:

 

  • U.S. Supreme Court: 2003 to Present

  • U.S. Courts of Appeals: 1979 to Present

  • U.S. District Courts: 1989 to Present

  • U.S. Bankruptcy Courts: 1989 to Present

  • U.S. Tax Court: 1986 to Present

  • U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation: 1968 to Present

  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims: 1990 to Present

  • U.S. Court of International Trade: 2004 to Present

  • U.S. International Trade Commission: 1998 to Present

  • Patent Trial and Appeal Board: 2012 to Present

Accessing Bloomberg Law's Dockets

After visiting http://www.bloomberglaw.com and entering your log-in credentials, select “Dockets” beneath the “Research” header under “Getting Started.”  

 

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Alternatively, visit http://www.bloomberglaw.com/dockets and enter your log-in credentials.

Searching Bloomberg Law's Dockets

First, select the court where the case was filed.  You can do so by selecting “Browse” and then drilling down through the options until you find the court you need.  Alternatively, you can begin typing the name of the court in the “Courts” box, at which point the system will provide you with one or more courts matching your entry.  Note: using either method, you can select multiple courts to search at once.

 

Once you’ve selected your court(s), you can enter identifying information in one or more of the following fields:

 

  • Keywords (e.g., complaint, transcript, “motion to dismiss,” etc.)

    • Click “Search Help” for an explanation of Bloomberg Law’s required Boolean search operators.

  • Docket Number

    • Click “Federal Docket Numbers” for help formatting your docket number search.

  • One or more parties to the case, along with their role

  • Judge

  • Case Name

  • Attorney or Firm

  • Date Range

  • Type (Civil or Criminal)

  • Cause of Action (e.g. Breach of Contract)

 

Note: in addition to being useful for locating specific case dockets and/or filings, Bloomberg Law’s Dockets can be helpful for determining how a particular judge has ruled on a particular type of case or motion.  For example, by selecting “U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois” in the “Courts” field, entering “Castillo” in the “Judge” field, and “Medical Malpractice” in the “Add Cause of Action” field, we can learn more about medical malpractice actions heard by Chief Judge Ruben Castillo.

Viewing Case Filings

When viewing federal case dockets on Bloomberg Law, most filed documents are available for download.  If you need to review a particular document, click the link to either "View" or "Request" that document beneath the "Action" column.  Requesting a document incurs a charge for commercial Bloomberg Law accounts.  However, for academic accounts, up to $1,500 in charges are waived per calendar year.  When a document has become available for viewing, it will appear in your "Downloads" section and you will also receive an email notification.

Ensuring a Docket is Up-to-Date

When viewing a particular docket on Bloomberg Law, make sure to click "Update Docket" beneath the "Docket Currency" header on the right-hand side of the page.  After a few moments, you will receive a notification that the docket has been updated and the "Last Updated on Bloomberg Law" date above the "Update Docket" link will reflect the current date.  Bloomberg Law only updates individual dockets on a periodic basis, so clicking this link will ensure you are viewing the most up-to-date version of the docket.

Usage Restrictions

Students, staff, and faculty at the law school are permitted to incur up to $1,500 in waived docket fees per calendar year.  Common fees on Bloomberg Law include the following:

  • $.10/page to a maximum of $3.00 to request documents (a charge of up to $6.00 may be incurred when requesting multipart pleadings).
  • $.10/page to a maximum of $3.00 to update a docket.
  • $.10/page to a maximum of $3.00 to track a docket (for all courts except the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, a charge is incurred only when there is a change to the docket sheet).

For a more detailed breakdown of dockets charges on Bloomberg Law, see Dockets Pricing for Law Schools.

If you are concerned that you may exceed your $1,500 limit or would like to discuss strategies for more efficient use of Bloomberg Law's dockets, please email law-reference@law.northwestern.edu or contract your library liaison.