Accessing court dockets allows you to find detailed information about case law, including filings, opinions, and other court documents. Though some of this information is available for selected cases in WestlawNext and Lexis Advance, Bloomberg Law’s docket coverage is much more comprehensive.
Bloomberg Law allows you to access all the docket information included in PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), plus state court docket information. Unlike PACER, which charges a fee for each docket viewed, Bloomberg Law’s docket coverage is included with your student account access.
Log in to Bloomberg Law, using the username and password you set up during 1L Orientation.
After logging in, you should see the Bloomberg Law homepage.
Under the Litigation & Dockets tab, select “Search Dockets.”
You should see the Search & Browse > Dockets page. This gives you various options with which to search for dockets.
1. To select a particular court or courts, click the “Browse” button to the right of the “Courts” text box.
2. Use the “+” and “–” symbols to navigate to the court you would like to search.
3. When you click on the name of a court, that court will appear in the space below the navigation box.
Use keywords, docket numbers, party names, or other search criteria to narrow your search.
1. When you click “Search,” you will see the results of your search. You can add a date limitation through the Search Criteria box on the left side of the page, or sort your results by Date or Court.
When you select a docket by clicking on the name, you will see the docket page.
1. To look for docket documents, scroll to the bottom of the page and look under “Docket Proceedings.” If the number is blue, that document has been requested by a previous user and is now available to all users for free (both academic users and commercial users). If the number is green, the document has never been requested and commercial users may be required to pay a fee to access it. As long as the document is available through Bloomberg Law, academic users may access it without a fee. If the number is highlighted, that document is available to all users for free and contains the keyword(s) you searched for.
Bloomberg Law only searches for your keywords in documents that are available to all users for free.
2. If the document is available to all users for free (this typically applies to state court documents), but has not been requested by another user before, you will need to request the document.
3. If the document is available to academic users for free, but commercial users would be required to pay a fee (this typically applies to federal court documents), you may still request the document without charge. The Document Request box will appear slightly different, but you may still proceed without incurring a fee.
4. If the document is not available through Bloomberg Law, you will not be able to request it.
Once you have successfully requested a document, you will be able to see the document within Bloomberg Law. You can print, download, save, or email the document.
The “Related Opinion(s)” link, found under General Information on the right side of the page, will take you to the court opinion that corresponds to the docket you were viewing. Bloomberg Law provides BCite Analysis, which lets you know whether the opinion is still good law.
1. If the information found on the docket page seems out of date, you may wish to update the docket. This asks the Bloomberg Law system to check with the court and make sure that Bloomberg Law has the most recent documents and information from the docket. The Update Docket link is found in the top menu bar on the docket page.
2. Updating the docket is free and immediate, allowing you to access updated information as soon as you click “Accept.”
1. If you wish to receive notifications about future changes or updates to the docket, you can select Track Docket in the top menu bar of the docket page.
2. Tracking the docket is also a free service to academic users, and you can limit your notifications by frequency or search terms. You can also have the updates emailed to a separate address.
Westlaw provides basic docket information, but the content is much more limited than the docket information on Bloomberg Law. For instance, many dockets in Westlaw do not contain links to the related court documents. For reference and comparison, follow the search steps shown below to access the same docket in Westlaw.
1. After logging into Westlaw, select "Dockets" from the Westlaw Home Screen.
2. The Dockets Home Screen displayed Federal Dockets and State Dockets. For Texas Dockets, select "Texas."
3. On the "Texas Dockets" Home Screen users may perform a natural language or boolean terms and connectors search. Also, users may click-through to the dockets for specific courts (e.g., Texas Supreme Court), and perform a natural language or boolean terms and connectors search.
4. Next, Westlaw will populate a search page where users may perform a natural language or booleans terms and connectors search.
5. Following a search, Westlaw will populate the pertinent results. When you select a particular result, the docket information will populate as well.
Lexis Advance also provides basic docket information, but the content is again much more limited than the docket information on Bloomberg Law. For instance, many dockets in Lexis Advance do not contain links to the related court documents. For reference and comparison, follow the search steps shown below to access the same docket in Lexis Advance.
1. After logging into Lexis Advance, select "Dockets" from the Lexis Advance home screen.
2. The Dockets Home Screen displayed Federal Dockets, State Dockets, and Practice Area Dockets. For Texas Dockets, select "Texas".
3. On the "Texas Dockets" Home Screen users may perform a natural language or boolean terms and connectors search. Also, users may click-through to specific courts and perform a natural language or boolean terms and connectors search.
Note: The search box should indicate the search parameters include "TX" and "Dockets"
4. Next, Lexis Advance will populate a search page for users to perform a a natural language or boolean terms and connectors search.
5. Following a search Lexis Advance will populate the pertinent results. When you select a particular result, the docket information will the populate as well.
Official court websites also provide some docket information. Depending on the court, this information may be as comprehensive as the information in Bloomberg Law or it may be more limited. To look at the same docket on the official court website and compare coverage, follow the steps shown below.
1. There are two ways to search official Texas court websites to find docket information. First, users can navigate to the new TXCOURTS webpage, available HERE, and select the appropriate court from the drop-down menu displayed below. Likewise, users may use a search engine, such as GOOGLE, to locate each state court's individual website; each hosts its respective court's docket information.
2. The “Case Search” will populate. Here, you may change the court you wish to search and search multiple courts. By selecting the “Document Search” radio button, you may convert the screen to a search engine for specific documents.
3. When users populate search results, the list will appear at the bottom of the screen.
4. By selecting the Case Number, the case search feature will populate all available case documents, including the following: General Case Information, Files Briefs, Case Events, A Calendar of Events, The Parties to the Suit, and the appropriate trial court information (if looking at a state appellate court filing).
5. Where available, documents will populate in PDF format.