Thursday, July 7, 2022

Bloomberg Law Docket Access Update

Last week, Bloomberg Law announced a change to its academic subscription docket usage caps. Effective July 2022, the system will reset educational account users' docket "billing" for the year on July 1, rather than January 1, to more closely track the academic calendar.

As many Law School community members already know, Bloomberg Law provides subscribers with robust access to federal and state court dockets and filings. Individual users can request the full text of documents that are available for electronic retrieval, and track/update pending case dockets as well. Although this service comes at a cost to commercial subscribers, Bloomberg subsidizes these costs for academic users: up to $1,500 per person each year or up to an institutional cap (equivalent to 30% of the annual subscription cost paid by the institution, which varies depending on size). (Note: Academic subscribers are not eligible to request items that require courier service to retrieve.)

More information is available at Bloomberg's Policy on Academic Use of Dockets. Users who exceed their annual allotment will be restricted from incurring additional docket charges (for retrieval or updating/tracking) until the next annual reset. Bloomberg pledges to provide 30 days' notice before suspending docket retrieval access (except in the case of data scraping or other automated download methods, which can result in immediate suspension under the terms of service). Users can always review their current docket "charges" in the top right corner of Bloomberg Law, under My Accounts > My Docket Billing.

What happens if your docket access is someday restricted, either due to your personal or Duke's institutional usage cap? Once retrieved, an individual document becomes freely available in the system (labeled "View" rather than "Request" on the docket), and subsequent readers incur no charges for accessing those materials. Current members of the Duke Law community can also access many court filings and docket materials through Westlaw (Filings tab for a particular case) and Lexis (CourtLink). CourtListener's Advanced RECAP Archive Search includes federal court documents provided by users of the RECAP browser extension

For additional options in researching federal and state dockets, check out our research guide to Court Records and Briefs or Ask a Librarian.