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General Tips for Locating Briefs
Westlaw This link opens in a new window
In Westlaw Next, select "Briefs" on the homepage. In Westlaw Classic, select Directory and then select "Briefs" under litigation. Westlaw has Supreme Court briefs from 1930, Ninth Circuit briefs from 1973, and California briefs from 1988.
The general databases listed below are all good starting points for locating briefs. Other good strategies are browsing the website of the organization that filed the brief or the website of the court where it was filed.
For example, the U.S. Department of Justice (Appellate Courts, Supreme Court), the ACLU, and the American Intellectual Property Law Association all provide briefs they have filed online. LLRX provides a longer list of organizations that typically post their briefs online here.
Likewise, the Ninth Circuit and First District Courts of Appeal make some electronic documents available online. You can locate other courts using Find My Court and the 1999 Union List of of Court Records or learn more using our Docket Information & Court Filing Guide.
In Lexis Advance, use the "Content Type" tab below the search box to select "Briefs, Pleadings, and Motions." In LexisNexis, select Lexis.com and then select "Court Records, Briefs, and Filings." LexisNexis has selected Supreme Court briefs from 1936, Ninth Circuit briefs from 2000, and California briefs from 1999.
Bloomberg Law This link opens in a new window
Bloomberg has selected Supreme Court briefs from 1936 and Ninth Circuit dockets from 1982. More importantly, Bloomberg will request and upload PACER briefs for you and allow you to access PACER briefs requested by other users. To use this feature, select "Search & Browse" and then Dockets. Under "Docket Proceedings," click the numbers to view or request the documents.
PACER This link opens in a new window
PACER is the federal court system's electronic filing software. Users must create an individual account and pay to access documents. Because Bloomberg will request and upload PACER documents for free, it usually makes more sense to use Bloomberg, but PACER may be helpful for urgent requests or users who do not have Bloomberg access.