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Research Assistant Resources

This research guide is a survival guide for NYU Law research assistants (RAs), providing resources for all stages of their RA work.


This section of the guide is a short introduction to dockets research. A more thorough how-to guide on dockets research is available here.

Should you run into questions or concerns with your research, feel free to reach out to the librarian assigned to your faculty member for specialized advice. Please check this list to determine which librarian you should contact. 

Litigation Documents Overview

Litigation documents are papers submitted to the court in a particular case like records and briefs. These documents are technically public records, but their availability varies depending on the jurisdiction. Most of these materials are found through the docket - the formal court record of all the proceedings and filings in a case, like the complaint or motions. Dockets will also contain some basic identifying information, like party names, attorneys, and judges. 

Dockets Research

The best database for federal docket research is Bloomberg Law, because they use PACER as the source for the dockets and litigation documents. If you do not yet have an account for Bloomberg Law, you are encouraged to reach out to the Reference Desk for an activation code and then follow the procedure for registering a Bloomberg Law Academic Account.

Once on the Bloomberg Law home page, select Dockets under Search. Then, ask yourself: What information about the case do you have, and can you search using that information? If you have the docket number, this might be the best way to find the case (but keep in mind that sometimes the database is testy, and you may not find the docket this way). You can also use other identifying information (like court, judge, attorney, party's names) to find the docket. The docket sheet will have a chronological listing of filings in the case that you can view or request to view. 

Note that Bloomberg Law has recently imposed a monetary cap on the amount of dockets research an institution and individual can complete. To avoid hitting the monetary cap, we ask you not create any alerts for a docket and only open docket documents that are necessary for your research.