New Clinic Guide: How to Read a Docket

Update 8/9/2021: We have set up a permanent page where you can always find the latest version of the How to Read a Docket guide.


As the Cyberlaw Clinic continues to expand our amicus brief and direct representation practices, we’re finding that many students encounter court dockets for the first time in their clinical work. Looking back at our own experiences, we realized that many of us learned the ins and outs of dockets at clinics or on the job. Given how convoluted long-running dockets can get–and how essential good docket management is to litigation–we decided to compile the basics of docket use into a living document.

To that end, the Cyberlaw Clinic is pleased to announce version 1.0 of our new public guide: How to Read a Docket. The first section of the guide covers locating federal dockets through PACER (as well as some alternative interfaces that are cheaper, more user-friendly, or both). The second section goes over how to read a docket, including the docket header and event list. The third and final section contains notes on common filings and events such as pleadings, motions, and orders.

The guide is licensed under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license, so anyone is free to reshare, reuse, and remix it for non-commercial purposes. We hope you’ll find it useful in your practice! And please let us know if you end up using it so we can track its impact.

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