What Document Retrieval Specialists Do for Legal Researchers in NYC

Extensive paperwork and documentation form the foundation of a solid case. Legal researchers use these documents to build supporting arguments and find cases that provide critical precedence. But without expert document retrieval, legal research teams would have a significantly more difficult time helping attorneys establish their cases.

In 2017-2018, civil legal service providers in New York handled more than 480,000 cases. This represents a veritable mountain of data for legal researchers in the state to sort through from just one year. This is what makes document retrieval specialists necessary to New York law firms.

Document Retrieval and Legal Research

Legal research refers to the process of leafing through court records and materials to find out which of these documents you can use in your case. These sorts of documents include current laws, obscure legislation, and previous rulings. The legal researchers use these documents to help lawyers with cases they’re working on. Obscure legislation could provide loopholes attorneys can use, previous rulings help establish precedence, and current laws can make or break their arguments. These cases help strengthen cases, potentially affecting the outcome.

But legal researchers need to locate these files first and that is a significant challenge.

In the State of New York, the Civil Court alone keeps their records for 25 years. The files are stored in the courthouse for three years before they are safeguarded for a further 22 years in off-site archives. Without assistance, sifting through these files is a monumental task.

This is where New York document retrieval specialists step in.

Document retrieval specialists dive into a sea of information from the court system to locate data for legal researchers. These professionals use various tools and years of experience to find the specific documents needed.

Document retrieval specialists in New York can access electronic databases, such as the state’s Court of Appeals Public Access and Search System or Court-PASS. However, these databases have limitations. Court-PASS only has materials for cases that were filed or pending after January 1, 2013. This makes it necessary for document retrieval specialists to access other data sources, such as physical files.

The Challenges of Document Retrieval

Document retrieval specialists face many difficulties performing their job. These are only a few of the challenges they have to overcome before they can find the right documents and paperwork.

  • Legal documents rarely have a unified file taxonomy. Most people rely on one word meaning the same when classifying documents, but legal terminologies and definitions may change over time, whether due to legislation or other factors.
  • Law-specific words and phrases can have different meanings from common vernacular, making it more difficult to determine if a particular document is relevant. A document retrieval specialist, and the legal researchers guiding them, must be aware of the context of the phrase they’re searching.
  • Determining the relevancy of the document affects retrieval priority.
  • The sheer volume of cases that can be accessed electronically is staggering, with new cases getting added to databases every day. Sifting through this sea of information is a monumental task, typically requiring many man-hours.

Experienced document retrieval services have all the knowledge and expertise necessary to overcome these hurdles. They can seek documents by backtracking them through cases that cited the same documents. Over electronic platforms, they can employ strategies, such as Boolean searches, to quickly sort through data. Other times, they have to physically dig through files just to get to the one the legal researchers need.

Through the diligence of document retrieval specialists, attorneys are armed with the information they need to bring justice to their clients. So it’s vital that they partner with legal support providers they can rely on.

Reliable Legal Support Services in New York

Serve Index LLC provides some of New York’s largest law firms and companies with reliable legal support, thanks to our ability to deliver high-quality service. Aside from efficient and professional document retrieval, we also provide skip tracing, service of process, and court filing.

Learn how we expedite document retrieval today.

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