PacerPro: Now a Free Service to Search for Cases

The Paralegal Resource
February 28, 2014 — 1,358 views  
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PacerPro is an online interface for lawyers and legal professionals to search, save or share case documents and was launched in 2012. It has now been made a free service. PacerPro helps access the PACER system used in federal courts and then allows you to manage those documents. PACER is an acronym for Public Access to Court Electronic Records and allows its users to get docket and case details from the US district courts, bankruptcy courts and courts of appeals. Handling PACER becomes cumbersome also because it is essentially 214 separate units where every court manages its own site.

One up on PACER

The PACER system marked its silver jubilee in December 2013, but has come under criticism often for being out of date on the technical front. Also, it received flak for not being user-friendly enough, and for charging fees for records already in the public domain. Attorney Gavin McGrane developed the new PacerPro, which when started in 2012, cost a subscription of $25 per month. Today, the interface can be used free of cost and has the following features:

•    It improves on PACER by way of features like real-time universal search and one-click downloads.

•    PacerPro logs in directly to all the 214 sites of various courts, and bypasses Case Locator of PACER.  

•    The new tool shows all the information relating to a case, including case number or filing date, together and not in a haphazard manner over separate pages as in the case of PACER.

Document management made easy

Once the information required is accessed, you can bookmark the cases for access later and PacerPro indexes the docket for easy searches. Because PacerPro is wholly a web-based tool, it gives legal professionals access to information about cases anywhere. What’s more, there’s an iPad app as well, so professionals can take information offline when there is no Internet access.

Though users should still have a PACER account and need to pay a fee of 10 cents for every page retrieved, PacerPro can help lower fees because once a document is downloaded, it becomes accessible to others for free. So, when a second user seeks information, PacerPro shows the stored copy, and PACER fees can be fully avoided. While the searching option will be free, PacerPro will introduce additional features by June for which fees will be charged.

The Paralegal Resource