Source Collection Information for Research Assistants

A manual to assist a Faculty Research Assistant in collecting citations.

Electronic Court Documents

Online sources

For Federal Courts, Select States & Select International Dockets
For Federal Courts
For Federal and State Appellate Courts
For State Appellate Courts
Notable, Historical Trials' Documents, Transcripts, etc.

Court Materials Not Online

Resources to Find Court Records
Web & Online Guides to Find Court Records
United States Federal Circuit / District Court Locator

United States Federal Circuit / District Court Locator

Information previously published on their website (at

  • “Most case files created prior to 1999 are maintained in paper format only. Paper case files may be stored at the courthouse or at one of the Federal Records Centers (FRCs). A case file may be obtained through the court or directly from the FRC. Contact the court in which the case was filed for more information.”
  • “Some case files are maintained permanently and some are destroyed after a period of time. Case files are preserved in accordance with established records schedules.”
  • “When court records (case files) are eligible for permanent preservation, they are transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for storage and preservation. Records in the National Archives are available for public access from NARA. Those who conduct genealogical research are typical customers serviced by NARA.”

If a case is sealed, there will be no electronic copy of the file in PACER, Westlaw, Lexis or Bloomberg. Copies of sealed cases are held in paper only. Contact the clerk’s office for information.

Responsible Agencies or Repositories
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S.C.A. District of Columbia Circuit
U.S.C.A. Federal Circuit
U.S.C.A. Second Circuit
Maryland Court of Appeals

Interlibrary Loan: Federal Court Dockets and Documents

The Law Library ILL Service does not obtain federal court documents on behalf of patrons. Documents that are not available on databases like Bloomberg Law and PACER, or imaged onto microfilm or fiche, will require you or your faculty to directly contact a court clerk or public repository, e.g. NARA. For assistance, please have your faculty contact the Law Library's Research Services, at, or you may email Research Services, cc'ing your faculty. Your email to Research Services must cc the faculty or the department is unable to assist.

If federal court documents exist in microfilm or fiche, and nowhere else, then visit the Library of Congress which carry the following:

Interlibrary Loan: State Court Dockets and Documents

This ILL Service does not obtain state court materials unless they are housed in academic or state libraries that participate in ILL sharing. If a court clerk or a public repository holds the court documents, then you or your faculty may reach out to them directly. For assistance, please have your faculty contact the Law Library's Research Services, at

Check the Cases & Courts page on the State Research Guide to find potential places where state court records and briefs may be held.

Law Library Research Guide

Check Briefs, Oral Arguments and Other Court Documents Research Guide for general research strategy.

Need More Help?

Ask for assistance from Reference Services.

Need Help Submitting an ILL Request?

If you're unsure how best to fill out an ILLiad form, please contact ILL Services at