Judicial opinions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to court documents that can be relevant to your research. Sometimes you will want to read filings from the parties to better understand a case or to use as examples in your own work. One of the best tools we have for locating federal court dockets and the underlying documents is Bloomberg Law. This coverage map displays the dates and jurisdictions included in the database.
To access and search federal court dockets, you will need to log on to Bloomberg Law. The school provides access to Bloomberg Law to all students. If you have not already registered for a Bloomberg Law account, go to https://www.bloomberglaw.com/activate and register for an account using your L&C email address.
To locate court documents on Bloomberg Law, first navigate to the Dockets Search page. Type dockets into the search bar (do not press enter!) and select Dockets Search from the options that appear. Dockets should also be available from your Bloomberg Law landing page.
From the Dockets Search page, you can search for dockets by docket number, court, judge, party, nature of suit, and date.
After you have located a docket, you need to make sure it is up to date. Click the Update Docket link at the top, right-hand side of the page to automatically request that Bloomberg Law check for the most recent docket entries.
Items that Bloomberg Law has already accessed show up with a View link in the PDF field. For other items, Bloomberg Law offers the Request link. One of the benefits of our subscription to Bloomberg Law is that they waive the fee associated with downloading court documents for students, faculty, and staff. After you confirm the request by clicking on the Accept button, you will receive a notification that the request has been submitted. Requests can take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes to process. You will receive an email and an onscreen notification (if you remain on Bloomberg Law) when the document is available to view and download.
In the event a document cannot be downloaded and is only available via courier, you will receive a message alerting you to this limitation. Please contact the Reference Desk for assistance.
Some dockets will be hundreds of entries long. Fortunately, Bloomberg has a tool for searching and filtering the docket entry description. Once you have an up-to-date docket, you can filter the docket entries by searching for keywords in the entry descriptions.
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When entering docket numbers in a U.S. Federal Courts docket search, use the following formats:
Leading zeros are still needed for the following: