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Features - Court Docket Services - A Comparison of Pacer, CourtLink, CourtEXPRESS and CaseStream

By Julie Bozell, Published on October 14, 1999

Julie Bozzell is the Electronic Information Specialist at Greenberg Traurig in Miami, FL.

Click here for Reader Comments


Pacer

CourtLink

CaseStream

CourtEXPRESS.com

Table 1: General Characteristics

Table 2: Courts Available

Table 3: Cost

The last few years have seen an influx of new products for online docket retrieval, each providing its own unique advantages.  Evaluating these services is a time consuming and confusing process because of the variations in how each service works and which courts they search.  In fact, since no one service has distinguished itself as the product to beat going into the next century, many law firms are finding that just one service is not enough.  To add to the difficulty, new features are being added at breakneck speed.  In order to make this task a little easier, I've summarized  the basic features, drawbacks, coverage and cost for currently available docket retrieval services.  Keep in mind, however, that these services are changing practically on a daily basis.

The Contenders

Today there are four main services competing for your docket retrieval business:  CaseStream, CourtEXPRESS.com, CourtLink and Pacer

Pacer (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), the oldest of this group, is run by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.  While Pacer is centrally administered by the Pacer Service Center, each court actually runs its own computer with their own data, and their particular iteration of the Pacer software.  CaseStream, CourtLink and CourtEXPRESS.com  are simply user friendly gateways to the Pacer service.  They  log on to  Pacer, capture the docket information from Pacer for you, and present that data in a more attractive package. 

If a particular court is unavailable via Pacer, a common problem, then access to that court via CaseStream's Docket Direct, CourtEXPRESS.com and CourtLink will also be down.  (CaseStream Historical is an exception to this rule.  See below.)   If the problem is temporary one,  CourtEXPRESS and Casestream will keep trying to connect for you.  However, when these services are unable to access a court, it does not necessarily mean that Pacer is also having difficulties.  Sometimes changes are made to the Pacer service that require the gateway services to reprogram their systems in order to access those courts for you. 

General Characteristics

Pacer

The Pacer service is run by the government and it shows.  It is a very slow process to set up a new account or password. The Pacer Service Center promises login information  in the mail within two weeks. As part of the process of signing up for a Pacer account, you choose the courts you will need to access.  Your best bet is to simply choose all courts since adding a additional court to your account will take 24-48 hours.  At one time, if you did not access some courts for an extended period of time your access was discontinued.  That no longer appears to be the case.  But obviously this service does not function under the same time concerns as that of the business world.  

Setup and actual use of this service can also be tedious.  Each court has their own system on their own computer.  So you must configure access to each court individually. Keeping track of the current access numbers for each court can be frustrating, especially in cases where you need to access a variety of courts.  Also problematic is the need to support Pacer court access on multiple machines for various users that may not be technically inclined.  Users will need to learn how to capture text to a file or printer using communications software and in some cases also need to know how to download files directly via zmodem, xmodem or other transfer protocol.  Connecting to the appropriate court to retrieve dockets can also be very time consuming, especially when trying to get information from a busy, difficult to reach court.  Overall, the amount of support time needed for Pacer can  make Pacer's lower prices less attractive.

However, Pacer offers added content, depending on the court, including hearing or judge calendars and other court documents. Often Pacer is the only place to get a hold of these items without physically going to the court. Some Pacer courts allow you to specify a date range for docket entries retrieved, which can be handy in the case of larger dockets.  Recently Pacer also added to its Web site (http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/) the ability to check your account information online, a helpful feature if you need to bill Pacer charges to your clients, especially since Pacer bills quarterly.  You may also change your password, register for a court and review your transactions and current account balance. 

Searching on Pacer can be quirky.  For example, Pacer can sometimes be case sensitive, and sometimes not, depending on the court.   So if you don't capitalize the first letter of your search term, you may not find what you're looking for.  Also, you can keyword search the nationwide index, but the individual court Pacers won't find a word embedded in a name.  Many inconsistencies can result because each court has their own system, which can be set up slightly differently, resulting in tremendous confusion for searchers.  Remember that all of the gateway services will also be subject to these same problems since they are depend upon the Pacer system to conduct their searches.

During the past year Pacer has experimented with a service called WebPacer. WebPacer provides docket information, and in some cases the full-text of selected filings, for a handful of courts.  WebPacer is available via a Web browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer, however,  instead of accessing via an Internet connection, they require a WebPacer dialer, or Windows Dial-Up Networking, to connect directly to the court. 

There are also a few courts that have made their information available through the Web using a standard Web connection and browser (PacerNet).  (For updated information on these courts, see the Pacer Service Center Home Page.)  But keep in mind, the list provided by Pacer on their Web site isn't a complete list of District Courts on the Web (For example, the Tennessee Middle District Bankruptcy Court  isn't included, as it's not using the Pacer software.)  So figuring out which courts are available and where is a feat in and of itself.

CourtLink

CourtLink was the first Pacer gateway service to come along and has been around for several years.  It was very well received as it provided a much needed, user friendly way to retrieve docket sheets.  CourtLink simplified the process of providing access to courts by allowing users to connect through CourtLink's proprietary Windows software, eliminating the need  to keep track of all of the individual court phone numbers as required by Pacer.   The user simply logs on to CourtLink, selects a court, and inputs the search criteria. CourtLink then connects to the specified court, conducts the search, and presents the results.  CourtLink  provides easier ways to print and save their attractively formatted docket sheets.  If you want to search a case in more than one court you can use the Profile Manager which will automatically search each court that you specify sequentially, preventing you from having to input the information more than once. 

This past summer, CourtLink began offering its service to users via Westlaw.  Rumor has it that CourtLink is currently working on a Web version of their service, due out in January.

The biggest advantage of the CourtLink service over their competitors is their extensive federal court coverage and continued expansion of state court coverage.  But as a result of this expansion, software updates have been appearing every few months, the installation of which can be a burden for overworked Information Services departments.  Over the course of this summer CourtLink released its latest software version 6.1 that includes the option to automatically update your software when logging into CourtLink.  This is a fantastic and long overdue option from CourtLink.   Of course, this problem will completely disappear if CourtLink goes to the Web.

However, CourtLink can be a very time consuming service to use.  First, the user connects to the CourtLink computer.  Then they input their search criteria and wait again while it connects to the court.  If the court is busy, users are forced to sit, watch and wait.  The CourtLink software does not like to be minimized and ignored, so should you attempt to switch to other applications while the software is working, it will interrupt with invasive dialog boxes.   For times when CourtLink just can't connect, CourtLink's Search Assurance program is a great addition to their service.  But this service does add yet another extra step in getting your docket sheet.  They also offer a Case Tracker service for those times that you want to track a particular case.  (This is not available through the software.  To activate a Case Tracker, call CourtLink, and they'll send you their search results by email or fax, on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.)

Another concern is the added one time subscription cost.  Depending on the number of users it can be hard thing to swallow when setting up an account.  This kind of cost is difficult to charge back to a client and can end up as one more added thing on library budget that you weren't expecting.

But according to faithful users, you can't beat CourtLink's customer support.  They know more about what's going on with the Pacer system than anyone else, including the Pacer Service Center. 

CaseStream

CaseStream, the next docket service to come on the market, has yet another angle in the docket retrieval game.  CaseStream actually offers five separate products:  CaseStream's Desktop product, CaseStream Historical, CaseStream Docket Direct, CaseStream Alert and CaseStream's Delaware Chancery . CaseStream, unlike its competitors, is not just another gateway to Pacer.  While the the other services are limited by the search capabilities of the Pacer system, CaseStream actually downloads Pacer information to its own computers thereby allowing for more powerful searching capabilities. 

The  proprietary CaseStream Desktop software allows users to monitor specific dockets for new information at pre-designated intervals, and search for newly filed cases by  fields such as party, court, judge, litigator and subject matter.  During the night, the CaseStream computers download any new information for cases or searches being monitored to their own computers.  The information is then uploaded to the subscriber's computer via an Internet connection, and is available for review the next day. 

Last summer, CaseStream introduced two new Web-based services called CaseStream Historical and Docket Direct.  The CaseStream Historical database contains over 2 million dockets, some of which may no longer be available in the court system.  Because this data resides on in-house computers, CaseStream is able to allow users to search more then one search criteria at a time such as multiple litigants within a case, or litigant and case subject, etc.  CaseStream Historical database offers added search fields including date limits, courts, subject matter, litigants and their alternative spellings, law firms or lawyers, judges, and finally whether they are active, closed or class actions cases.  (Pacer and CourtEXPRESS.com are limited to searching by one litigant and docket number, or, in their National Locator Service, by "nature of suit.") However, the docket information in CaseStream Historical is only as current as its last update.  Once you've found a docket in the CaseStream Historical database you can choose to update the docket via CaseStream's Docket Direct for an additional charge. 

Docket Direct supplements CaseStream's Desktop service by allowing users to run real time searches to retrieve dockets on an as needed basis during the normal business day, much in the same way that CourtLink and CourtEXPRESS.com do.  Once your docket sheet is retrieved the service will send an email to notify you that it can be retrieved on their Web site. If you know you need the most information available and have a case number, you can choose to go directly to the Docket Direct service.

The big news  for CaseStream is the release of a new Web product called CaseStream Alert.  CaseStream Alert was released in September, and offers a more advanced, Web version of its Desktop software service. In fact, it is intended to replace the Desktop software product.  (However, the Desktop software will still be available for firms without Web access.)  It offers the ability to track dockets on a pre-determined schedule using the same multiple search parameters including date range, courts, nature of suit, class action, litigants, law firm, lawyer, judge, and case status that were introduced in CaseStream Historical.  Your results are emailed to you in either a detailed or summary report. (Click here for more details.)  This gives users the capability to easily track cases of interest to their firm clients on a daily, weekly, or other specified basis, without having to install the CaseStream proprietary software. This is the perfect service to use to track complaints filed against the firm's clients, or potential clients, thus giving your attorneys the upper hand at alerting these clients that they've been sued.  You may also track cases filed in a particular practice area in specified courts.   It is a fantastic marketing and competitive intelligence tool for attorneys.  The results of the detailed report are very helpful and let you know each day about new cases or new activity that you are tracking.  This service only alerts you to new cases since your last update, unlike CourtEXPRESS.com's recurring search feature

CaseStream has valuable relationships with several document retrieval services including Washington Document Service, Capitol District Information, Infoline, and FDR/Disclosure.  When using CaseStream's Web products, you are given the option to place an electronic order for court documents via any of these services.  This year CaseStream has provided case summaries via Lexis-Nexis in their docket and litigation libraries.  In April of 1999, CaseStream signed an agreement with Lexis-Nexis to provide their Historical Database via the Lexis-Nexis in the year 2000.  You can also find CaseStream supplied information in Company Sleuth.

CaseStream, like Pacer, provides the ability to access account usage information online, and in addition has an option to download the billing information into a spreadsheet format.

CaseStream's one downfall when compared with its competitors is it lack of bankruptcy and criminal court coverage.  This service has really just focused on federal civil district courts.  However, criminal Court data is due to be released shortly, and bankruptcy and appellate are currently in development.  But for the time being, you will need to use another service for any bankruptcy or criminal dockets that you may need.  CaseStream's Desktop product involves a good deal of technical support and requires a properly configured and reliable connection to the Internet.  Fortunately CaseStream's new Alert product on the Web seems to more then make up for the problems of their Desktop software.

CourtEXPRESS.com

The latest contender is CourtEXPRESS.com, created by the RIS Legal Services.  (RIS Legal Services has recently been renamed CourtEXPRESS.com. )  CourtEXPRESS.com entered the marketplace this past year and were the first to offer Web access to docket information.  CourtEXPRESS.com has the great advantage over the other docket contenders of covering the largest number of courts via the Web.  They include many more courts than CaseStream, including the Federal Bankruptcy Courts and over half of the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals.  This very user friendly new service allows both case name and number searches and  runs the search after it is ordered, notifying the requester by email when the docket is done and ready for viewing, printing or email from the Web.  Users don't have to wait during the long connection process that can take place with CourtLink and Pacer.   

One nice feature of CourtEXPRESS not offered elsewhere is their "Personal Results" page where you can access your last 300 search results.  This is helpful if you misplace your search results, or if you decide later that you need to order a document from the docket sheet.

Ordering documents from the court docket is also a very easy process with CourtEXPRESS.com.  You just place a check in the box next to the specific docket entry, and electronically send the order to CourtEXPRESS.com. Charges for documents ordered through CourtEXPRESS.com are discounted and no rush fees or research charges are applied.  The fees vary based on the court starting at $29, plus 75 cents per page copied.  Before confirming your document retrieval order, a confirmation page lists the case charge for the court that you are ordering from.   If you choose to email a docket to someone else, it is sent in html format, easily allowing email recipients to order their own documents.  

CourtEXPRESS.com also offers a recurring search feature to track cases by name or case number for you at intervals that you choose.  A notice of  results are sent automatically by email. You can then you can log-in to CourtEXPRESS.com to retrieve the results.  However, unlike CaseStream's monitoring service which gives you only NEW information since your last search, CourtEXPRESS.com's recurring search feature simply re-runs your search at the intervals requested, providing you with complete information regardless of whether or not there have been any changes/updates.

Finally, CourtEXPRESS.com also boasts the ability to view and manage account information.  CourtEXPRESS.com allows firms to designate an administrator that is able to create and manage new users within the firm and retrieve bills online.

One problem to note with CourtEXPRESS.com involves name searching.  The costs and time involved in searching for a common personal or company name can quickly add up.  Your initial search can lead to a long results list including all the variations of the name.  Retrieving dockets with the new name variations will involve another search and a $5 search charge for each variation.  The search results do not show the entire case name, so if there is more than one case retrieved under a particular name, you'll need to check the docket for each one, resulting in another $5 charge.  (Per search costs are $5 regardless if you are searching one court, an entire state or nationwide.)

To combat this problem CourtEXPRESS.com recommends using the National Locator Service when searching for names.  The problem is that the National Locator Service is often busy and difficult to connect to during the business day, so while CourtEXPRESS will keep trying to connect in the background, it could take some time to get your search results. Also, the NLS database is not as current as those of the individual courts.  It also is unable to narrow your results to just one court but at least there is the option to narrow to one state.  Once you've found a case you will need to run another search with another search charge to retrieve the docket that you are looking for.  So at this point, CourtEXPRESS.com typically works best for specific docket searches when you have the docket number, and document orders.

Table 1 - General Characteristics

  CaseStream-Desktop CaseStream Alert CaseStream - Historical & Docket Direct CourtEXPRESS.com CourtLink Pacer
Method of Access to Docket Data Automatically retrieves dockets overnight, notifies user via email of newly filed cases matching pre-defined criteria, and updates to dockets being tracked.

This service is only recommended for firms without desktop Web access.   Otherwise,  see CaseStream Alert.

Automatically retrieves dockets overnight, notifies user via email of newly filed cases matching pre-defined criteria, and updates to dockets being tracked. Historical retrieves from CaseStream database, which consists of records downloaded from Pacer.

Docket Direct connects  in background & notifies you when results are available on the Web.

Connects in background & notifies you when results are available on the Web.

Results stored on users personal results page.

Connects live. Connects live.
Software Proprietary CaseStream software.   Involves  connections daily to specified computer. Must have a reliable Internet connection.  In some cases also requires email. Web and email Web and email Web and email Proprietary software and   modem  access

or

WESTLAW software with modem access or other type of WESTLAW connection also on www.westlaw.com

Communications software such as ProComm, PC Anywhere, or Hyper Terminal and modem access

Some courts are also available via the Web

Document ordering online? No Yes -  choice of four Vendors: Washington Document Retrieval, Capitol District Information, Infoline, FDR/Disclosure with no special discount Yes -  choice of four Vendors: Washington Document Retrieval, Capitol District Information, Infoline, FDR/Disclosure with no special discount Yes - through CourtEXPRESS.com at discounted rates No No
Searching By litigants, judge, attorney, subject matter, law firm.  Can not combine search parameters thus cannot limit search to a  specified court as with the CaseStream Alert Web product. By docket number or by any combinations of court, litigants, judge, attorney, subject matter and/or law firm. Historical -By date limits, litigants, case status, attorney, firm, judge, subject matter, and  case status etc.  Can combine search  criteria.

Docket Direct- Case Number

Docket number or one litigant name.   The National Locator Service can search by nature of suit that can also be limited by: all years, current year, previous year, and  by name.
Docket number, one litigant name. The National Locator Service can search by  nature of suit that can also be limited by: all years, current year, previous year, and  by name.
Docket number or one litigant name. The National Locator Service can search by  nature of suit that can also be limited by: all years, current year, previous year, and  by name.
Retrying when unable to connect to court Connects overnight. Notifies user when unable to connect. Re-tries continually, 24 hours a day until court is reached or the court calls to say they're unavailable. Historical - n/a

Keeps re-trying until connection is made with Docket Direct.

Re-tries 4 times.  After four tries the tech department will requeue and rerun it for another cycle of 4.  At that point the search is then investigated to see if there's a problem at the court.  An email is sent out alerting to the failed search. Offers Search Assurance program. Must set communications software to keep re-dialing.
Customer Service hours and phone number (888) 311-1966 8AM-6PM Eastern Time

For Telephone Training (800) 500-0888

Or by email form available on the CaseStream Web site

(888) 311-1966 8AM-6PM Eastern Time

For Telephone Training (800) 500-0888

Or by email form available on the CaseStream Web site

(888) 311-1966 8AM-6PM Eastern Time

For Telephone Training (800) 500-0888

Or by email form available on the CaseStream Web site

(301) 294-1440 or (800) 542-3320 8AM-6PM Eastern Time  (877) 430-2990 6AM-5PM Pacific Time (800) 676-6856 8AM-5PM Central Time

The Content Basics - Court Coverage

Pacer, CourtEXPRESS.com, and CourtLink for the most part cover many of the same courts including the U.S. Federal District and Bankruptcy Courts, several of the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the U.S. Case Party Index or N.L.S. (National Locator Service).  (It's not altogether easy to discern which courts are covered by CourtEXPRESS.com, as all courts are listed, whether or not they are available.  If you select a court that is NOT offered by CourtEXPRESS.com, you will received a notice to that effect.  Any temporary outages are indicated.) CaseStream covers just the Federal District Civil Courts at this time.  Pacer Net includes just nine courts at this time.  CourtLink is actively trying to add coverage of state courts to their service. Some courts that they also hope to include in the near future include: additional California court coverage, Virginia, New Jersey, Alabama, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. CourtLink has special contracts with a few other state courts at this time and can run searches for you within these courts if you call them at (877) 430-2990.  The list of state courts available that CourtLink can search for you appears when logging into the CourtLink service on the daily message screen, and is also on their Web site.

Table 2 - Courts Available Each Service

CaseStream CourtEXPRESS.com CourtLink Pacer Pacer Net

Federal District Courts - Civil Dockets only

Delaware Court of Chancery

Criminal Court data will be available shortly, and Bankruptcy and Appellate coverage are in development.

Click here for a complete list

Includes selected U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, Federal District Courts, Federal Bankruptcy Courts, and the U.S. Case Party Index.

List of courts available to members and registered guests on their  Web site.

 

Covers most U.S. Federal District and Bankruptcy Courts, most U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, access to the U.S. Party Case Indexes or  "NLS."

Includes some state courts in California, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

Click here for a complete list

Click here for a complete list of courts with their WESTLAW  database identifiers.

 

Includes U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, Federal District Courts, Federal Bankruptcy Courts, and the U.S. Case Party Index.

Click here for a complete list of courts including their access telephone numbers.

Click here for more info on connecting to the U.S. Case Party Index

Comparison of Costs

The service costs for each of our contenders varies greatly. Which works out best for you can depends upon the kind of  searching you are doing.   For example if you need to pull a docket sheet and you have the case number from a court that often is busy and difficult to connect to, the connection attempts can take up a lot of time and tie up your computer if you're using Pacer or CourtLink.  At these times one of the Web based dockets services such as CaseStream Docket Direct or CourtEXPRESS.com may be a better choice because you won't be charged the online time fees of CourtLink and Pacer and they will both email you when your results are ready, all  for one flat fee.  If the person conducting the search is billing time to a client, further savings can result.  To compete with this advantage of the Internet docket services CourtLink recently added their Search Assurance program.  If you can't connect to a court, they'll now run the search for you at the same cost you would incur if you were searching yourself.  To use this service you can either email or fax a form available on their Web site or call them via their toll free number at (877) 430-2990.  The turn around time is 24 hours, but if you call they can rush this service at no additional cost.

Table 3- Basic Docket Retrieval Service Fees

CaseStream Desktop* CaseStream Alert* CaseStream Web
Two pricing plans:

Flat Rate: (1) $299 per month  for unlimited users to run searches in 85 courts (2) $399 per month and includes daily email notification and new class action cases.

Pay as you go: $2 per litigants, judges, attorneys, or subject matter.

Pay as you go:  $.20 per newly filed case matching your requested subject matters or class action search criteria.  $2 per item matching your requested litigant, attorney, judge or law firm.

No account fees.

 

$0.25 per item retrieved from a search list ($5.00 minimum).

$3.00 to retrieve a docket from CaseStream's database.

$5.00 to update and view a current docket

No account fees

CourtEXPRESS.com CourtLink Pacer
 

$5 per search result

$19 for  NLS combined index search, which covers Civil, Criminal and Bankruptcy filings.

$200 yearly fee for account

$10 per search result without an account

CourtLink Direct: $1.63 per minute.   CourtLink adds varying surcharges for access to courts for example $.18 per minute   for U.S. Federal courts.  Click here to see other surcharge rates.   Also a one time subscription fee of either $49 per workstation, $395 unlimited use per one branch office or $ 695 unlimited firm wide use.

CourtLink Via WESTLAW: Transactional Pricing at $30 per search in individual court, $45 per Federal Index Search and $10 per each document that you choose to view and/or print.  Offline print charges also apply.

Dial-Up: $.60 a minute and no registration fee

Web - Beginning October 1, 1999 Pacer added an access fee of $.07 per page and no registration fee

* CaseStream Desktop is replaced by the CaseStream Alert Service.
On the other hand, if the court is easy to access and/or you have a lot of docket sheets to retrieve,  then the dial-up services of Pacer and CourtLink may be the ones to offer the better deal.  Both CaseStream Docket Direct and CourtEXPRESS.com have flat fees per docket that can quickly add up as each docket viewed will lead to an additional charge.  This has confused many users.  The time it may take to view a large number of dockets can often be short and lead to lower costs then the equivalent search on the transactional based services of CaseStream and CourtEXPRESS.com. 

CourtLink has an additional service not listed in the Table 3.  Now for those individuals that do not want to perform their own searches they can use CourtLink's new service called CourtLink Express.  For the price of $2.25 per minute ($25.00 minimum) CourtLink will run the searches for interested users and send them their results via fax, email or overnight delivery within the following 24 to 48 hours. To use this service, clients must submit their request to CourtLink by fax using a form available at their Web site.

Which One Should You Choose

When choosing one or more of these services, you must assess what kind of court searching you typically conduct and which services will offer you the best, most comprehensive court coverage for the value.   Some questions you should consider include:

  • Will you need any of the state courts covered by CourtLink?  
  • Do you need court calendars or other court related documents only found via Pacer?   
  • What about the potential benefits of advanced tracking features and larger available number of search criteria options available via CaseStream for marketing purposes or to track down that next to impossible to find new court case?  
  • Will document ordering via the Web be a big benefit to you and your other docket service users? 

Several of you may find, as I did, that each of the services have unique features you just can't live without.  You may find also that it may not be worth convincing your users to switch to a newer product while at the same time it is not worth the training and technical support  to get many of the newer employees up to speed on the older systems.  Whatever the case, as you realize the ins and outs of each service, and the varying costs associated with them, you should be able to better decide which service matches your needs.


Reader Comments

From: chayes@courtexpress.com
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 10:43:03-0500
Subject: CourtEXPRESS.com response

Thanks for the article on electronic case information services. LLRX has been instrumental in highlighting the rapid adoption of our new technology in the law firm market. I would like to clarify some points made in the article about CourtEXPRESS.com.

The article states, “This very user friendly new service allows both case name and number searches….” CourtEXPRESS.com also provides searching by subject matter! CourtEXPRESS.com subject matter search results provide case name, case number, jurisdiction, filed dated, closed date (if any) and Nature of Suit number. You can then obtain directly from this search result a complete docket sheet for one or any number of cases that are of interest to you. Similarly, the article also states “CourtEXPRESS.com also offers a recurring search feature to track cases by name or case number for you at intervals you choose.” We also provide subject matter searching on a recurring basis at intervals chosen by you.

You might not realize after reading the article that CourtEXPRESS.com is the only company that provides Internet access to our nations courts AND document retrieval services from the same company. The legal marketplace, based on our adoption rates, has embraced this one-stop shopping convenience. Why use two services when one company meets your needs?

Users collectively launch thousands of searches each day on CourtEXPRESS.com. Hundreds of these searches that are run on CourtEXPRESS.com are successful name searches both within specific courts and our National Locator Service. Our users have certainly not viewed this benefit as a problem. Our prices, because we are on the Web, are transaction based and can’t be time based. Most searches launched on PACER are cheaper than on CourtEXPRESS.com. Locating a case via a party name may be cheaper on PACER but the total cost to our client is lower when using CourtEXPRESS.com. We allow you to move on to more important tasks rather than managing the search process of locating a case.

Thanks to so many LLRX readers, including attorneys, who have become CourtEXPRESS.com users. We are adding more functionality and more courts to make keeping track of cases, clients and competitors (plus helping attorneys grow their practices) easier from anywhere. You can read anotherLLRX review of CourtEXPRESS.com, at www.llrx.com/features/courtexpress.htm

Editor's Note: As mentioned in the Table 1, CourtEXPRESS.com allows you to search the National Locator Service by "Nature of Suit," limited by: all years, current year, previous year and/or state. The search will result in a list of all cases in all courts on that particular subject.


Subject:  Docket Services Article
Date:  Tue, 19 Oct 1999 17:57:36 -0400
From:  Paige Miller paige@marketspan.com

I would like to commend Julie Bozzell for her excellent article on docket information services.I think her comments and analysis are fair and on target.

CaseStream offers a new way of doing some things, a faster way of doing other things and, enables you to do other things that you had no way of doing before.

Our goal is to be the most customer-centric site on the web, and we will stop at nothing short of that. We would like to hear from you, the LLRX readers, about ways that we can improve our services. Many of our best features have come from your suggestions.For example, we just released the ability for a firm to require a specific format for its client matter numbers, and later this week we will be adding the ability to e-mail a docket to someone else—both were suggestions from users.

We thank LLRX for tackling the intricacies of the docket services and, again, we thank Ms Bozzell for her informative analysis.


From: Web Master [mailto:legal_dockets@hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, October 18, 1999 1:55 PM
To: bozzellj@gtlaw.com
Subject: LLRX Article

I recently read your article on the web, "Court Docket Services - A   Comparison of Pacer, CourtLink, CourtEXPRESS.com and CaseStream Comparison" at   http://www.llrx.com/features/dockets3.htm . Great article, it is about time someone did this. This would be a great addition to your article, and LLRX:  http://www.homestead.com/LDO  

Overall, this is a good comparison of the available services but you missed   a  number of other services, such as the RACER system produced by Wade Systems   ( www.wadesystems.com ) which many courts including our own use  ( www.id.uscourts.gov ). This is a service that provides a live connection to  our  database over the web and includes document images. Try case 99-1 for  example if  you would like to see what this service is capable of producing. Wade  Systems is  a software developer and lists the courts that have purchased their product.  You can also get a listing of the courts that are on the web at  www.uscourts.gov. These courts offer a variety of information but there are  basically three different services, WebPacer (as you noted), RACER and ECF which  is the Judicial Branch product that competes with RACER. RACER and ECF both  offer document images and more. As you noted, PACER is still very much alive  but  it has become very stale as a resource.

I hope you find this information useful.

Doug Ward
Systems Manager
U.S. District & Bankruptcy Court, District of Idaho
(208) 334-9097