How To Do Research: Court Records

By Jason D’Antonio

In the first part of our “How To Do Research” series, we’ll examine PLUS Communications’ solution to analyzing court records.

Court records are an essential foundation for any public records vet. These records offer troves of information on everything from speeding tickets to multimillion-dollar lawsuits. They also pose a serious risk to both individuals and organizations if not properly reviewed as evidenced by a recent crisis involving a “botched” police commissioner appointment. Think about it: wouldn’t you want to know about an individual’s bankruptcies or tax liens before deciding to go into business with them? At PLUS, our proven methodology provides clients with a comprehensive view of an individual’s public legal history so they can make an informed decision.

It is critical to identify the proper location of relevant records. In fact, there are thousands of courts across the country. Search engines are a useful starting point, but individual databases across all court levels must be searched to ensure researchers capture all relevant public information. PLUS uses social media and other public information to compile relevant addresses and ensure the proper court jurisdictions are searched. In addition to locales, data points such as aliases (i.e. nicknames, maiden names and misspellings) are also noted and employed by our team to do a comprehensive sweep of potential court locations.

Our team’s familiarity with the court system also allows us to inform clients what is not publicly available within an online database. For example, even states that provide unified court systems may not house all previous cases online. In these scenarios, PLUS offers clients the opportunity to retrieve those archived public files in facilities across the country by preparing a tailored document retrieval strategy for each situation.

PLUS’ competitive advantage lies within its team’s proven methodology.

With decades of combined experience, our researchers understand the intricacies of the nation’s court system, employing proven search qualifiers to give our clients a complete data set. Court documents are analyzed and motions are studied for both themes and substantive information. Analyses may even have added value if public records provide information for additional areas of research. This substantive information is then complemented by news searches and other public record searches to develop a fully contextualized analysis of the case.

In just the 2020 cycle alone, PLUS provided clients with more than 200 legal profiles, analyzing hundreds of court cases and thousands of pages of legal filings in 37 states. Our final product will always give clients information in a comprehensive and easily digestible way, providing them with an opportunity to achieve an unparalleled competitive advantage.


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