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Docket Research

Overview

Bloomberg Law ("BLAW") is the preferred database to retrieve current case dockets and filings due to its wide coverage of dockets and advanced search features.  

Since state coverage varies dramatically among BLAW, Lexis CourtLink, and Westlaw, and none of the databases provides comprehensive access to federal or state dockets, it is important to review each database's coverage when looking for a docket.

Note: For SLS accounts, fees associated with searches, tracking alerts, updates, and downloads of docket materials are waived up to a limit. The vast majority of users will not reach the limit. If you intend to extensively use Bloomberg dockets (e.g. downloading several hundred documents), please contact the reference desk (reference@law.stanford.edu) to discuss. 

Setting Up Your BLAW Account

Access to BLAW is limited to the Stanford Law School community and requires personal, custom usernames and passwords from each, individual user. SLS students will typically receive their account registration information at the beginning of their first quarter at SLS. 

If you need assistance setting up a BLAW account, then please contact the Reference Desk at (650) 725-0800 or reference@law.stanford.edu.  

Getting Started and Constructing Your Search

Step 1: Sign in to your Bloomberg Law account
Step 2:  Locate "Dockets Search"
  • From the homepage, you can either look for the "Dockets" link, or type "dockets" in the search bar and then select "Dockets Search."
  • Dockets Search page will pop up:

Step 3:  Restrict Your Search

  • Docket coverage is extremely extensive, so the more specific information you can provide, the more likely it is to find the case you are looking for. You should add any information you have (keywords, party names, judge, date, etc.) to restrict your search results. 

Keywords

  • It is not recommended to run a keyword search for dockets without additional filters. Keywords searches will only search the face of the docket sheets and the full-text of any documents that have been pulled into the system (more on this in the section on retrieving documents). It can be very difficult to craft an efficient keyword search.
  • Do not use this to search party names or case titles - you will likely find too many unrelated results.
  • You can choose the option to search either Dockets & Documents, or just Dockets (which will exclude full-text document searches)
  • If you are using keywords, then you can click on the question mark icon to identify some Boolean operators (or terms and connectors).

Courts

  • This box lets you choose the jurisdictions to include in your search; multiple jurisdiction selections are allowed. You can either type in the search box or utilize the "Browse Full List" to select jurisdiction(s) of interest.
  • Narrowing your search by jurisdiction when possible is highly advised. This helps to eliminate many of the irrelevant results. 

Parties

  • You can add one or more names of parties involved in the case to narrow the search. This includes amicus parties as well.
  • If more than one name is entered, you have the option of searching either "all of these" or "any of these".
    • Use "all of these" when searching different names that should all be included.
    • Use "any of these" when searching for cases that will include any one name listed. This may be useful if you are unsure of how a particular party is listed in the case and want to try different variations of the same name. 

Judge

  • If you have difficulty finding a case using the "Judge" field, try variations of the name, such as searching last name only or removing middle names or initials.  

Docket Number

  • This is only usable for federal cases.
  • If you have docket number, definitely add it to your search - it will significantly help in targeting the search to find the correct docket.
  • Check that the docket number you input here matches with BLaw's format by clicking on the question mark to see the accepted formatting options. 

More options

  • The bottom of search screen includes many more options, some of which are jurisdiction-specific. Don't forget to explore these options as they may help narrow your search results.

Step 4: Search, or set up an alert

  • You may click "Search" button at the bottom of the Dockets search screen to run your search.  
  • You may also click "Create Search Alert" option along the bottom of the Docket search screen to set up an alert that will email you updates when new documents arrive that meet your search criteria.

Updating the Docket Sheet

  • Once you've run your search and clicked on a case name in the results, you will be taken to the docket sheet for that case.
  • An important initial step is to click on “Update Docket” to check for any recent updates (to sync with information available on PACER).  This process may take several minutes. You will receive a pop-up notice and an email when the update is complete. You will need to refresh the page to see the updates.

Docket sheet in Bloomberg for the case In Re: Subway Footlong Sandwich Marketing and Sales Practice Litigation, with an arrow pointing to the Update Docket button

 

  • If you would like to be alerted to changes in the dockets as they occur going forward, you can click "Track Docket" at the top of the page and set your preferences for how often the docket should be checked for updates. 

  •  

Viewing and Retrieving Documents

  • Under the Docket Information section is a list of Docket Entries showing the entry number, date filed, PDF availability, and description. Docket entries are shown in chronological order.

The docket entries box on a docket sheet in Bloomberg Law

 

  • In the "PDF" column, it will show one of three possibilities:
    • Blank: this entry does not have an associated PDF. 
    • "View": Bloomberg has already downloaded this PDF to its own database and is currently available. You can click on "View" to immediately see it and download it.
    • "Request": This PDF is not currently in Bloomberg's database. You can click on "Request" to ask Bloomberg to retrieve that document from the court system. As noted above, the fee for requests are waived for law school accounts up to a limit.
      • Bloomberg will notify you on the site and through email when the document is ready. The time needed for the document to become available can vary from a few minutes to several hours.
      • You may receive a notification that the document is not available and requires a courier. The courier request option is not available to law school accounts. These documents are not available through Bloomberg.  

 

  • You can bulk download documents that have already been retrieved (the documents labelled "View") by clicking the check boxes next to their entry and then clicking "Print Entries" at the top of the docket entries table. You can choose up to 12 entries at once.
  • You can also bulk request documents (the documents labelled "Request") by clicking on the check boxes next to their entry and then clicking "Request Entries" at the top of the docket entries table. You can choose up to 12 entries at once.
  • You can find a record of your docket downloads from the last 7 days by clicking "My Work History" at the top of the Bloomberg page, then choosing "Downloads."

Coverage

To identify coverage, search for "Dockets Coverage Map":

Then, you can view the coverage here:

Questions?

BLAW Help Desk (24/7 Chat, Hotline)

  • The contact information for Bloomberg Law Help Desk (available 24/7) is available at the bottom of the page of any Bloomberg Law website. You can choose to ask in a live chat by clicking “Chat,” call the hotline (888-560-2529), or send an email.

BLAW Dockets Help Page


Robert Crown Law Library Reference Desk