Legal Technology

DOJ Pays $15M for Legal Research, Including $4M for Pacer

An open records advocate contends that a free source of legal documents could eventually save the federal government $1 billion, and he offers the Justice Department as Exhibit A.

A freedom of information request by Carl Malamud reveals that Justice Department paid more than $4 million in 2009 for access to the Pacer electronic filing system, according to the Wired blog Threat Level.

DOJ also paid LexisNexis and Westlaw each $5 million, for total legal research expenses amounting to about $15 million, according to Legal Blog Watch.

Malamud, founder of, is posting court papers on the Internet with the help of software created by a Stanford University dropout who conducted a mass download of documents during a free Pacer trial at 17 public libraries.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

Updated at 12:06 p.m. to correct the number of public libraries that offered the free Pacer trial.

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