May 20, 2022

Legal Research: Free Law Project Launches Effort to Download All Free Opinions and Orders from PACER

From Free Law Project:

Today we are launching a new project to download all of the free opinions and orders that are available on PACER. Since we do not want to unduly impact PACER, we are doing this process slowly, giving it several weeks or months to complete, and slowing down if any PACER administrators get in touch with issues.

In this project, we expect to download millions of PDFs, all of which we will add to both the RECAPArchive that we host, and to the Internet Archive, which will serve as a publicly available backup. In the RECAP Archive, we will be immediately parsing the contents of all the PDFs as we download them. Once that is complete we will extract the content of scanned documents, as we have done for the rest of the collection.

This project will create an ongoing expense for Free Law Project—hosting this many files costs real money—and so we want to explain two major reasons why we believe this is an important project. The first reason is because there is a monumental value to these documents, and until now they have not been easily available to the public.


The second important reason why we are undertaking this initiative is that it should provide a mechanism for getting a fairly representative sample of cases from PACER. Our current collection of PACER content only has information about a case when the case is downloaded by a RECAP user. This tilts the RECAP Archive towards cases our users download, leaving out a vast swath of important content.

Learn More, Read the Complete Blog Post

Key Free Law Project Research Tools

    “Millions of PACER documents and dockets.”

ALSO New TODAYFree Law Project Adds Thousands More Citations to Historical Supreme Court Opinions

See Also: Make a Donation to the FLP

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.