What is Legal Dockets Online ?
Legal Dockets Online, located at www.LegalDockets.com, is a useful FREE research tool consisting of a public record portal and blog.  Our portal is a hand-picked collection of thousands of links focused on court case information and criminal records, which our blog compliments with posts about electronic filing, document retrieval, and other research.  Our customers are primarily professional researchers employed by law firms, investigation, and other due diligence-centered businesses.

What is a "case docket" or "docket sheet" ?
A docket contains a summary of the basic information about a litigation, bankruptcy, or other type of court case.  This generally includes the case (or "docket" or "index") number, court, assigned judge, relief demanded, nature of suit, type of claim alleged, criminal information, case status, litigants, and attorneys.  Dockets also contain a summary of most, if not all, of the documents on file with the court, as well as a record of certain events in the life of a case. 

Dockets provide an ongoing record of the case, allowing attorneys to obtain information, monitor filings and avoid missing deadlines.  Obtaining new dockets can also alert attorneys to new lawsuits that have begun against their clients or potential clients.

What is a "court docket" or "calendar" ?
This is the court's calendar of certain case events, such as oral arguments.  While many courts call this a calendar, some call it a docket.  To distinguish this from a case docket, we refer to these only as calendars.

What is CM/ECF ?
CM/ECF is an acronym for Case Management/Electronic Case Files and allows Internet access to federal court records, is provided by the U.S. Judiciary, and billed through the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.  This system is now in place in almost all federal courts as their internal electronic case management system, and provides the opportunity for the public to retrieve case information and filings, as well as utilize electronic filing and noticing.  Using CM/ECF for case information and filing retrieval requires a PACER account, and generally costs $.08 per page with a 30 page pricing cap, or $2.40, for docket sheets, documents, and reports.  Newer District and Bankruptcy Court written opinions* are free.
more on CM/ECF   20 minute video on CM/ECF

How do I obtain a PACER account ?
Simply fill out an application online and submit it by Internet, fax, or mail.  There is no initial deposit or credit card required.  If you do chose to submit a credit card you will gain access immediately.  If not, you will receive your registration materials in the mail in about a week.  You will be billed quarterly for the research you perform when your total exceeds $10.

What is the USPCI ?
The U.S. Party/Case Index is a national index for U.S. district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts.  The system serves as a locator index for PACER. You may conduct nationwide searches to determine whether or not a party is involved in federal litigation.  All but a few circuit courts are contained in this index.

What is NOS ?
NOS is an acronym for Nature of Suit, a subject matter categorization for federal civil litigation cases.  This designation typically occurs when filing the Civil Cover Sheet (pdf)  NOS listing

What are some tips for finding federal court written opinions and calendars ?
If after checking our Opinions, Orders, Decisions, and Calendars area you cannot locate a link to a particular calendar or opinion, log in to the appropriate CM/ECF site and search there.  Accessing written opinions* using a PACER account are free for District Court opinions filed using CM/ECF version 2.4 and greater, and for Bankruptcy Court opinions filed using CM/ECF version 3.0 or greater.

What is the advantage of using our public record portal as compared to commercial database ?
Why not get the facts live from the horse’s mouth?  Using a commercial database will probably not get you the most updated information available, and may not offer as many sources of public records.  This is because commercial databases cannot be updated every second of every day, and many public records are not available for resale.  Using our portal for your due diligence will usually be faster, and at a significantly lower cost to you and your clients.


*Written opinions have been defined by the Judicial Conference as "any document issued by a judge or judges of the court sitting in that capacity, that sets forth a reasoned explanation for a court's decision." The responsibility for determining which documents meet this definition rests with the authoring judge.

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What is Legal Dockets Online ?
What is a "case docket" or "docket sheet" ?
What is a "court docket" or "calendar" ?
What is CM/ECF ?
How do I obtain a PACER account ?
What is the USPCI ?
What is NOS ?
What are some tips for finding federal court written opinions and calendars ?
What are the advantages of using a public record portal as compared to commercial database ?
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