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Legal Writing

Drafting and Practical Guidance

AmJur Pleading and Practice (Westlaw password required)
American Jurisprudence (AmJur) Pleading and Practice provides thousands of state and federal forms, checklists, and timetables needed for every stage of a case. It also includes commentary and “how to” guidance, plus statutory and procedural rules references.

AmJur Trials (Westlaw password required)
American Jurisprudence (AmJur) Trials provides techniques, strategies, and guidance for success in the litigation of every practice area. It addresses every stage of trial, from initial client interview, pretrial motions, jury selection, and trial itself, to post-trial motions. 

Bender's Federal Practice Forms (Lexis password required)
Bender's Federal Practice Forms provides a complete range of litigation forms needed for practice in any federal court from federal district courts through and including the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Motions in Federal Court (Westlaw password required)
Motions in Federal Court covers more than 125 of the most frequently made pretrial, trial, and posttrial motions relevant to all practitioners in federal courts.

Litigation Intelligence Center - Bloomberg Law (Bloomberg Law password required)
The Litigation Intelligence Center brings together Bloomberg's tools, resources, and guidance for litigators. The page provides direct access to dockets, primary sources, Practical Guidance, news on litigation, verdict reports, expert witness data, and more.

Practical Guidance: Civil Litigation - Lexis (Lexis password required)
The Civil Litigation page in Lexis' Practical Guidance brings together a variety of civil litigation-specific practice notes, model documents, and checklists on topics including case management, motions, discovery, arbitration, and appeals.

Practical Law: Litigation - Westlaw (Westlaw password required)
The Litigation page in Westlaw's Practical Law brings together a variety of litigation-specific practice notes, model documents, checklists, and industry news and updates. Below are some specific resources that may be helpful in understanding federal litigation and the associated written documents.

  • Initial Stages of Federal Litigation: Overview - A practice note explaining the initial steps of a civil lawsuit in US district courts and the major procedural and practical considerations counsel face during a lawsuit's early stages. Specifically, the note explains how to begin a lawsuit, respond to a complaint, prepare to defend a lawsuit, and comply with discovery obligations early in the litigation.
  • Initial Pleadings and Motions Flowchart - A flowchart to help counsel navigate common scenarios that parties face at the pleading and pre-answer motion phase of federal civil litigation. The flowchart covers each step in this stage of litigation, including filing of a complaint, answer, cross-claims and counterclaims, motion to dismiss, motion for a more definite statement, and motion to strike.

Brief Analysis Tools

Bloomberg Law Brief Analyzer (Bloomberg Law password required)
Bloomberg Law's Brief Analyzer tool allows you to upload a brief and generate a document-specific report that indicates whether your cited cases are still good law, suggests relevant content, and provides reasons for the suggestions.

Casetext CARA A.I.
The Cara A.I. tools allows you to upload any type of legal document and receive recommendations of additional potentially relevant cases, statutes, and other authorities. Casetext provides free access to law students; be sure to use your school e-mail address.

Lexis Brief Check (Lexis password required)
Lexis' Brief Check tool allows you to check quotations and citations in any legal document. After uploading your document, the tool automatically processes it and validates the cited authority, producing a Brief Check report.

Westlaw Quick Check (Westlaw password required)
Quick Check analyzes your document to recommend additional case law that may be relevant. It also analyzes the authorities you've cited to determine whether they are still good law.

Dockets and Court Filings

The resources listed below provide access to federal court dockets and where noted, full-text federal court filings. These resources may also be helpful in locating state court documents but generally do not provide access to state court filings. To access fillings from state courts, visit the court's website to determine if online access or call the clerk of the court.

Bloomberg Law (Bloomberg Law password required)
Bloomberg Law’s docket search provides access to federal and selected state dockets as well as electronically available full-text filings. Coverage varies by jurisdiction, but for the federal courts it is generally 1989-present. When logged in to Bloomberg Law, a Docket Coverage Map is available that offers coverage details by jurisdiction.

Justia Docket Search
Justia provides a free searchable index of federal cases, dockets and filings from U.S. District Courts and U.S. Courts of Appeal. Coverage is 2004-present.

Lexis (Lexis password required)

  • Briefs, Pleadings, and Motions – court filings from both federal and state courts. Coverage varies by jurisdiction.
  • CourtLink - state and federal court dockets and court filings. Coverage varies by jurisdiction.
  • Federal Dockets – docket information for cases filed in the U.S. District Courts, U.S. Courts of Appeal, and U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. Coverage varies by jurisdiction.

PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts.  Creating an account in PACER is free, as is viewing judicial opinions, but accessing other court filings incurs a $0.10/page fee. However, users who incur less than $15 in charges in any quarterly cycle will not be charged a fee, making up to 150 pages a quarter free. Coverage varies by jurisdiction.

Westlaw (Westlaw password required)

  • Dockets - docket information on cases filed in state courts, U.S. District Courts, U.S. Courts of Appeal, U.S. Bankruptcy Courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. Coverage varies by jurisdiction.
  • U.S. Supreme Court Briefs and Petitions - select merit and amicus briefs, as well as petitions for writ of certiorari, filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. Select brief coverage begins with 1930; select petitions coverage begins with 1985.
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals Briefs – briefs filed in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. Selected coverage begins in 1997. 

Litigation Analytics

Bloomberg Law (Bloomberg Law password required)
This database provides analytics for attorneys, companies, courts, judges, and law firms. It also provides docketing information on ongoing matters.

Lexis Litigation Analytics (Lexis password required)
This resource provides analytics on attorneys, courts, judges, and law firms. 

Westlaw Litigation Analytics (Westlaw password required)
This tool provides analytics on attorneys, case types, courts, damages, judges, and law firms.