Free Legal Research with Court Listener

Court Listener, founded in 2010 by Brian W. Carver and Michael Lissner, is a free legal research platform – an alternative to fee-based research databases. This project is sponsored by the Non-Profit Free Law Project and offers coverage of millions of legal opinions from federal and state courts, and most recently even oral arguments from the US Supreme Court, First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, D.C., and Federal Circuit Court. We previously blogged about the availability of the recordings of Circuit Court’s oral arguments online. Court Listener currently covers 360 jurisdictions. The data available at Court Listener was provided by:


Court Listener offers basic and advanced searches. Advanced search option includes search by citation or docket number, search by case name or judge, ability to pre-filter by jurisdiction or date, ability to filter results by date (newest or oldest first), relevance, or by frequency of citation (least or most cited), option to set a precedential status of a case (precedential, non-precedential, errata, separate opinion, in-chambers, relating-to orders, or unknown), and the search algorithm accepts an impressive list of operators, including for example: AND, OR, NOT (where NOT may also be indicated by a dash – or exclamation point !; “” Phrase; () Grouped Queries; *, ? Wildcard, and more.

Users may also sign up to receive daily alerts for oral arguments or opinions. Users do not have to be signed in (or create an account) to run a search. Search results can be further refined by date, case name, judge, precedential status, or citation count. A displayed opinion preserves original pagination and includes a full table of authorities, full list of subsequent citations, a link to the original opinion available from the court, and ability to share the URL of the retrieved opinion via email or social media (including FB and Twitter).

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