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Court Briefs, Records, and Dockets

This guide identifies online, paper, and microform resources for finding party briefs, court records, and court dockets

What is a docket?

A docket is a judicial record of all the proceedings and filings in a court case. In the United States, dockets are considered to be public records.

PACER, the docket system for the Federal judiciary, allows the public to obtain case and docket information from federal appellate, district and bankruptcy courts, while many courts at the state level use databases specific to the state in which they belong.

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In addition to the many government sources for dockets, they can also be found on the three largest pay legal databases, Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, and Westlaw. The latter two databases often include docketing information, but do not always give the user access to the actual documents listed on the docket.

Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Law has excellent federal docket coverage.  It is probably the best tool for students who are doing docket searching, as other databases may not include all docket searching features in law school access. It draws content from PACER, downloading from it as required and making documents available to anyone with a Bloomberg password. It focuses on the Federal Court system, though for some states it also includes state courts.

One thing to remember about Bloomberg is that they often update dockets as needed, rather than on a regular schedule.  If you are looking at a docket and do not see current information, there is an option to update the docket at the top right side of the document. Once you’ve requested an update, it may take a few minutes for the update to actually come through.

For information on how to use Bloomberg Law's docket resources, view our tutorial


Lexis Advance

  • To access dockets, select “Dockets” from the “Content Type” tab on the Explore Content menu box. Select All Federal Dockets, All State Dockets, Federal Dockets by Court, individual state dockets, or dockets by practice area.
  • To access court filings, select “Briefs, Pleadings & Motions” from the “Content Type” tab on the Explore Content menu box.
  • There is no way to get to dockets and court documents directly from a particular case on Lexis Advance. 
  • You can also choose both “Briefs, Pleadings & Motions” and “Dockets” from “Category” as a pre-search or a post-search filter.
    • “Dockets” gives you the docket sheet, without links to the underlying filings.
    • “Briefs, Pleadings and Motions” provides access to the documents



From the main page in Westlaw select “Dockets” from the center right menu. You can either search all dockets, or continue to narrow by jurisdiction on the next page. When looking at a case in Westlaw, if the docket is available it can be found in the "Filings" tab above the case.