The American Association of Law Libraries has been supporting free access to Pacer information for nearly two decades. This week they joined with 15 organization and signed a letter calling for passage of H.R. 6714 the Electronic Records Reform Act. In addition to requiring free access to the federal dockets and documents, the legislation  directs the Administrative Office of the US Courts to consolidate the Case Management/Electronic Case Files system into a single system.  Here is the AALL press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    Contact: Rod Hughes

(610) 559-7585 Ext. 101


AALL Calls on Congress to Improve Access to
Electronic Records of the Federal Court System


CHICAGO – Feb. 13, 2019 — The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is advocating for the passage of the Electronic Court Records Reform Act, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), chair of the Congressional Transparency Caucus. This legislation would, for the first time, allow free access to electronic federal court records through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system and improve the efficiency and transparency of the courts.

AALL coordinated a letter signed by 15 other organizations—including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Data Coalition, and the Project on Government Oversight—urging passage of the bill.

“Access to the law, and information about the law, is the cornerstone of any democracy. The American Association of Law Libraries has long advocated for no-fee access to federal court records through PACER, and the Electronic Court Records Reform Act would finally make that vision a reality,” said Femi Cadmus, president of AALL. “Eliminating PACER fees will improve transparency of the courts and allow law libraries to preserve and provide access to court records. We urge Congress to enact this legislation.”

The Electronic Court Records Reform Act would:

  • Consolidate the case management/electronic case files system and require all documents in the system be searchable, machine-readable and available to the public and to parties before the court free of charge
  • Protect private information, requiring the courts to redact any information prohibited from public disclosure

AALL has a long history of advocating for no-fee access to PACER, dating back to the early 2000s when the association worked closely with Senator Joseph I. Lieberman on language that was added to the E-Government Act of 2002 to direct the Judicial Conference to charge PACER fees “only to the extent necessary.” Most recently, AALL joined the American Civil Liberties Union and several other organizations on an amicus brief in response to National Veterans Legal Services Program et al v. United States of America supporting the idea that the First Amendment guarantees the public a right of access to judicial records through PACER. The case is currently before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

About AALL

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is the only national association dedicated to the legal information profession and its professionals. Founded in 1906 on the belief that people—lawyers, judges, students, and the public—need timely access to relevant legal information to make sound legal arguments and wise legal decisions, its more than 4,100 members are problem solvers of the highest order. AALL fosters the profession by offering its members knowledge, leadership, and community that make the whole legal system stronger. For more information, visit

Two years ago Lexis launched Lexis Answers which leverages AI to deliver responses to natural language research queries with a declarative statement of law with supporting citations. Since that time there have been intriguing references in the legal tech press to the development of Lexis chatbots. Lexis pulled back the curtain on their new chatbox “Lexis Research Assistant” at a press event held during LegalWeek in New York last month.

Lexis Research Assistant Chatbot

What If Alexa Went to Law School?

Serena Wellen who works at Lexis Labs introduced her demo of the bot with the question: “What if legal research was Continue Reading Lexis Prepares to Launch a Research Bot –  And a CourtLink Makeover

I was a panelist on one of the two American Association of Law Libraries sponsored panels at ALM’s LegalWeek. June Liebert, Cheryl Smith. Cynthia Brown and reviewed the life cycle of technology adoption from product selection through testing, marketing, training and measuring adoption. Lawrence Colletti, executive Producer at Legal Talk Network invited us to sit for an interview. Listen to the podcast below –

From Conversation to Conversion Panel at LegalWeek

 Episode Notes

Many lawyers may not know they need a new product, but their support staff is always on the lookout for technology that will keep the firm running at its best. Laurence Colletti hosts this On The Road report with a panel of law librarians about their presentation about getting lawyers to use new tools. They discuss how they select products through research, testing, promotion, and review. Through demonstrations of use and data, they are able to show lawyers what tools will help them get the best results for their clients.

June Liebert is the firmwide director of library and research services at Sidley Austin LLP.

Jean P. O’Grady is currently senior director of information, research & knowledge at DLA Piper US, LLP.

Cheryl Smith is director of information services at O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

Cynthia Brown is director of research services for Littler Mendelson.

Continue Reading Legal Talk Network: AALL Members Interviewed at LegalWeek On Driving Lawyer Technology Adoption

We kicked off Wednesday’s webinar with each of the panelists sharing  a quote which describes their approach to innovation or which  was inspired by an innovation challenge in their career. Here are the panelists quotes:

Competence is the enemy of change, look to the incompetent for innovation – Martin Korn

  • An expert can be blind to the opportunity to improve things.

Sometimes it better to seek forgiveness rather than get permission – Jean O’Grady

  • if you think you are right – have the courage to proceed even when others try to obstruct change.

A problem well stated is a problem half solved – Stacy Pangilinan

  • Technology isn’t the answer to every problem. You have to define the problem first  before you can explore a solution

Disrupt or be disrupted Emily Rushing

  • Don’t wait to be asked – push your skills and expertise out to other departments. Every department has a taxonomy challenge and librarians are the original taxonomists – find a “side hustle.”
PLLIP has posted the webinar.
Start It or Stop It? Jump Starting Initiatives and Innovation in 2019Description:

Listen in on a lively conversation that will help you jump start your new year! Since 2013, Jean O’Grady has been conducting a Start Stop survey via her blog, Dewey B Strategic. As a prequel to the 2019 survey, Jean will be facilitating a panel discussion on the topic of new initiatives in the new year, including ways to remove obstacles and begin implementation. Gain wisdom from your colleagues as they disclose tactics for developing and executing new ideas, getting buy-in, etc., and be inspired as they share about some of the exciting new initiatives they’ve recently undertaken.


Jean O’Grady, Director of Information Services, DLA Piper


Martin Korn, Director of Research & Knowledge Services, Sheppard Mullin

Stacy Pangilinan, Digital Services Manager, DLA Piper

Emily Rushing, Competitive Intelligence Manager, Haynes & Boone

Lindsey Carpino and Denise Pagh
Education and Professional Development Committee Co-Chairs

We are all on the path to research Nirvana. Along the way we meet the true believers — many of them are my fellow librarians others are legal tech entrepreneurs. I recently had a chat with Pablo Arredondo, Co-Founder and Chief Legal Research Officer at Casetext  an intrepid fellow traveler and legal research thought leader. Arredondo is passionate about citations, algorithms and optimizing the legal research experience. Casetext has recently  enhanced their algorithms to identify valuable new caselaw features and elements including: motions, causes of actions and party type which can be used as filters to narrow and focus a search.

Arredondo provided insights into the importance of these new features: “Optimal legal research systems must enable attorneys to navigate the common law along dimensions that matter.  Motion at Continue Reading Casetext CARA Adds Intelligent Filters To Enhance Research Precision

Last month I launched a new Hits and Misses” survey which is replacing  the annual “Start Stop” Survey on products.  The new survey is more structured and should only take 5 to 7 minutes to complete. Please take a few minutes to share your insights on the state of legal publishing industry practices, products and technology. You can access the survey HERE.

This is an anonymous survey,  however respondents who wish to be entered in a drawing to win an Amazon Echo Dot have the option of including their name and contact information.

The survey will be open through Sunday February 3rd.

What Did You Think About Legal Publishing and Tech Trends in 2018?

2018 was a tumultuous year for legal publishing and technology. Consider just a few of the key events. The American Continue Reading Last Call: Respond to the Hits and Misses Survey Open Through Sunday February 3rd

Last week I attended a private press preview of Thomson Reuters latest enhancement to Westlaw Edge: Precedent Analytics. Although Thomson Reuters was the first legal publisher to launch a legal analytics product aimed at librarians and marketers (The Thomson Reuters Intelligence Center); they were a very late to the “analytics for lawyers” party. For several years I predicted the imminent launch of a Thomson Reuters analytics product.  In July 2018 a new platform Westlaw Edge was launched which offered litigation analytics based on 8 million federal dockets and 150 million state dockets. Since that launch they have continued to expand the motion filters available in Westlaw Edge. They currently offer filters on 23 motion types and more than 100 motion sub-types. Today they are launching a very different Continue Reading Thomson Reuters Launches Precedent Analytics to Challenge Lexis Context (formerly Ravel Law)

Thanks to ARK, ALM, PLLIP and SCALL for inviting me to speak at upcoming events:

Panelist, From Conversation to Conversion: Getting Lawyers to Use New Tools, Legal Tech, New York, NY,  January 31, 2019.

Moderator, Start It or Stop It? Jump Starting Initiatives and Innovation in 2019. PLLIP webinar, Feb 6, 2019

Panelist, Buyer Beware: Evaluating Analytics Products – How to Select an Analytics Product. Ark Law Firm, Library, Research and Information Services Conference, New York, NY, February 21, 2019.

Speaker, Not the Robot Apocalypse: AI as Opportunity for Librarians and Knowledge Professionals, Santa Barbara, Ca. February 22, 2019.


We have all become used to the idea of extracting insights from litigation docket data. But regulatory analytics appearto be emerging as an exciting new area for practice and competitive insights. Intelligize just launched a new feature which offers interactive Insights derived from from No Action letters enabling lawyers and financial analysts to glean quick insights into No Action Letter grants and denials by company, issue an law firm. No action letters are used by companies  to  send inquiries to the Securities & Exchange Commission Staff in order to determine if certain activities, actions or products would violate federal securities law.

New Analytics show

  • Top Shareholder Proposal Subcategories – trends
  • Successful requests by law firms – League tables
  • Most Cited Letters – find key seminal letters that became precedent
  • Request Outcomes -See incoming letter to the SEC and the past letters the the SEC concurred on, were unable to concur on requests which were withdrawn.

Other Enhancements Continue Reading Intelligize Launches No Action Letter Analytics – A New Regulatory Practice League Table?

Even though the government is shutdown, Voxgov is still “listening.”  Since 2014 Voxgov has been ingesting and analyzing every statement, report, newsletter and tweet from over 14,000 government websites and social media accounts. To date they have collected almost 50 million pages!

I asked Robert Dessau, voxgov Founder and CEO  if he  could provide some  insights into the statements of official Washington since the start of the shutdown. The word cloud images included in this post are previews of new visualization features which will be added to voxgov in the coming months. The word clouds are based on documents collected by voxgov between December 16, 2018 and January 16, 2019. The government shutdown started December 22nd.

Surprisingly members of  both houses are releasing almost the same number of official statements as they released during the same period a year ago (44,118 documents in the past thirty days versus 45,522 in the same 30 day period a year ago.)

There is a much larger impact  in the executive agencies which have released only 149,259 documents in the past 30 days compared with 397,238 documents in the same period a year ago. Voxgov normally ingests between 170,000 and 200,000 documents per week.


Continue Reading The Shutdown Didn’t “Shut Up” Official Washington According to Voxgov – Insights Into the Words of Washington – Republicans Have Not Mastered The Hashtag#