The Free Law Project has recently announced that in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor and Georgia State University, they have collected every free written order and opinion that is currently available in PACER.
New opinions will be downloaded every night (!) to keep the collection up-to-date.
Currently, the collection contains about 3.4 million orders and opinions from cases dating back to 1960. All of the documents are available for search, and the Free Law Project has also partnered with the Internet Archive to upload a copy of every opinion as well (the Internet Archive is a non-profit whose mission is to permanently store digital content).
Read more about this exciting new initiative here.
The following blog post was written by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian at the University of Wisconsin Law School Library
CourtListener is a powerful new free legal research website sponsored by the non-profit Free Law Project. The Court Listener platform is composed of four searchable databases containing judicial opinions, an audio collection of oral arguments, judge profiles, and documents from the Federal PACER system. The repository’s numbers are impressive and growing daily.
- Almost 4 million legal opinions from federal and state courts.
- Real-time coverage of oral arguments from SCOTUS and 11 of the 13 Federal Judicial Circuits.
- A database of over 8500 judge profiles.
- 2.4 million plus PACER documents.
The search engine is easy to use and offers an “Advanced Search” option to refine searches in a number of ways including citation, judge, and docket number. Case law searches are powered by their CiteGeist Relevancy Engine to provide the most relevant and important cases at the top of the results. CourtListener downloads opinions from many jurisdictions on an ongoing basis thereby allowing users to set up alerts using customized search and citation feeds. RSS feeds may also be set up by jurisdiction.
The oral arguments database is also continually updated, making it the biggest such collection on the Internet. At present, CourtListener provides oral arguments to over 1500 cases originating from the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. A count of available oral arguments from SCOTUS and 11 of the 13 Federal Judicial Circuits totals over 19,000. The judge profile search now also links up to the oral arguments database meaning when you look up the profile page for a judge, you may see a list of oral argument recordings for cases that judge has heard.
What really makes CourtListener special is the free access to PACER documents it provides through the RECAP Archive. Users of the PACER system can contribute to the building of the archive by downloading the RECAP Extensions for Firefox and Chrome. As you browse PACER, the RECAP extension automatically uploads docket files and PACER-downloaded PDFs to the Internet Archive for others to download later. The net effect is kind of like paying it forward, allowing the documents (and legal benefits) to flow to everyone. This newfound access to PACER documents is truly groundbreaking.
CourtListener joins a growing list of other free legal research sites as Google Scholar, FindLaw, Justia, Ravel Law, and Casetext. You owe it to yourself to take the newest of these for a test drive. CourtListener rightly joins the UW Law Library’s list of free legal resources available on our Databases and Electronic Resources page.
One of the UW Law School’s clinics is making news, this time on WPR. The Law and Entrepreneurship clinic helped out over 300 clients in the past year, navigating tricky issues involving beginning new businesses. For more details and an interview with Anne Smith, check out WPR’s page on the L&E clinic here.
The Milwaukee Justice Center, a service of the Milwaukee Bar Association and the Marquette University Law School, offers assistance to low-income self-represented litigants through court-based self-help desks and legal resources.
Legal advice is not provided, but extensive guides with links to legal forms help users navigate issues such as divorce, child custody, child support, landlord/tenant disputes, name changes, or small claims in the Milwaukee County’s court system.
Volunteer staff are also available in Room G9 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse, and free, walk-in legal clinics are offered (see web site for hours)
Source: Now @ MPL