By Carli Spina
If you use PACER regularly or teach patrons how to use it, you are probably accustomed to its limited search options and outdated interface. Often, users who expect databases to have more features will be disappointed to discover how difficult PACER can be to navigate. Recently, other services are trying to simplify and streamline the process of finding docket materials. Bloomberg Law, for example, integrates many docket materials into their service with a user-friendly search interface.
More recently, PacerPro has emerged as a tool that focuses exclusively on allowing users to navigate PACER’s materials more easily and efficiently. Currently the service only offers free “basic” accounts which integrate with the user’s existing PACER account.
In order to use PacerPro, users do need to provide PACER credentials and normal PACER fees are incurred using the service, but the actual search experience is entirely contained within the PacerPro interface. From here you can search for cases, follow case dockets, set up notification emails for new filings, and get batch downloads of documents. The search interface (shown below) makes it easy to effectively limit your search in a format that will be familiar to users of other legal databases. It also offers the option to include a client code, which will help firm users to keep track of their matters.
As a user navigates through PacerPro, it also stores both the search history and any cases that the user opts to follow, which decreases the amount of time that is spent redoing searches to find new documents. The option to set up email alerts for new filings further streamlines this process, meaning users won’t even need to sign onto PacerPro in order to find out immediately about new filings. According to the company’s CEO and Founder, Gavin McGrane, PacerPro actually provides access to filings faster than PACER does.
If you are a frequent PACER user, PacerPro is a nice option for a better user experience. Though the site is currently free, there are plans to start offering premium accounts in the near future, so you may want to check it out now. If you still aren’t sure whether you want to create an account, PacerPro also offers a number of video tutorials that demonstrate how the site works and will give you a better idea of whether it is worth using.
Advanced Search Tutorial