How can legal research help with drafting or strategy?
Before drafting a motion or brief, search for examples of what firm lawyers filed with the court in similar cases. You can likely find recent examples in your firm’s internal document system or search Bloomberg Law’s dockets. If possible, look for things filed before the same judge so you can get a quick check on rules/procedures to be followed (and by the same partner when possible so you can get an idea of their style preferences).
Careful docket search provides a wealth of information about relevant cases, jurisdictions, judges, and opposing counsel. On Bloomberg Law, type “Dockets Search” in the Go bar or find the dockets search box in the Litigation Intelligence Center.
If you do not know the specific docket number and/or court, use the docket search functionality Docket Key. Select from any of 20 categories, including motions, briefs, and orders, across all 94 federal district courts, to pinpoint the exact filing of choice.
Dockets can also help you access lots of information to guide your case strategy. For example, if you are considering filing a particular type of motion, such as a sanctions motion, you can use dockets to help determine how frequently your judge grants sanctions motions. You can also use dockets to see how similar cases before your judge proceeded through discovery.
If you are researching expert witnesses, you can use dockets to help determine if the expert has been recently excluded from a case, or whether their opinion has been limited. If so, this will help you determine whether the expert is a good fit for your case.
Dockets are a powerful research tool that allow you to search across filings to support your argument. Stay apprised of docket updates with the “Create Alert” option on Bloomberg Law.