One of our biggest problems with law is not that we lack information – it is that we have far too much of it. Take, for example, PACER. PACER is an unwieldy behemoth that exists, seemingly, to frustrate lawyers immensely with its pre-21st century interface . However, once you have managed to adapt to technology from 1998, PACER does actually allow you to find filings in the cases you are handling.
That’s terrific, but it is terribly limited. Given the vast amount of potentially useful data stored deep inside PACER and other court docket databases — previous decisions by the judge in your case! the track record of the attorney you are up against! recently filed cases with similar causes of action! — it’s criminal that we can’t get to it easily.
Some products aim to make getting to all that information a bit easier. The latest entry is Docket Alarm, which allows for real-time tracking of any docket you tell it to follow and full-text search of federal, bankruptcy, patent trial board, and international trade commission decisions. It appears the case set it can search across is still limited at this point, however.
DocketAlarm also looks to be trying to increase your ability to use past case data to predict future outcomes, at least in patent cases.
Docket Alarm analyzes every decision from the PTAB [Patent Trial And Appeal Board], applying tags to each decision. Then, users enter facts about their case, like the judge, technology area, law firm, or party, and Docket Alarm analyzes similar cases, generating graphical reports and calculating your likelihood of success.
Right now, DocketAlarm likely isn’t as cheap as you want it to be. It will run you $99/month, which may be prohibitive if you don’t need that level of data tracking. They also offer pay-as-you-go pricing, which may be more your speed if you only need to track a few things for a limited time. Regardless, it is great to see products that are working to wrangle all the data that exists in court dockets.