January 28, 2022

Legal: Ditching West Publishing Could Save 9th Circuit Court of Appeals $350K in First Year

From Courthouse News Service:

The 9th Circuit said Thursday that it will save $350,000 over the next year by processing its opinions in-house instead of contracting that service to West Publishing.


The San Francisco-based federal appeals court said it has been processing its own opinions since early November.

“Court staff now manage the process of converting opinions from the original word processing documents into Adobe PDF files, which are then uploaded onto the website, where they can be viewed and/or downloaded by the public,” it said in a statement.

The court said it “expects to save an estimated $350,000 in the first full year of in-house production of the opinions.”

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See Also: More in News Release from 9th Circuit Executive (PDF):

The opinions are formatted for optimal viewing on a tablet computing device. On a regular desktop or laptop computer screen, opinion text will initially appear oversized but can easily be redisplayed in normal size using the options available in the Adobe Reader software.

A more important change involves the addition of case summaries prepared by court staff. The summaries save time by allowing readers to quickly get the gist of a decision without having to search through the opinion itself. West previously produced the summaries, but for copyright reasons they could not be included with opinions made available online.

“The formatting change reflects the growing use of tablet devices by both the bench and bar,” said Clerk of Court Molly C. Dwyer. “We are continuing to print a limited number of copies for judges who request hard copy. But I think many judges have become quite comfortable using the electronic versions.”

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.