RECAP Project — What People are Saying

If you are a PACER user, I strongly encourage you to download RECAP.

—- Todd Ito of the Chicago Association of Law Libraries

Since [RECAP] launched in August, legal circles have been buzzing with support for the idea.

—- Bobbie Johnson in the Guardian

A sleek little add-on to the popular Firefox Internet browser” with a stylish and subversive touch.

—- Katherine Mangu-Ward in the Wall Street Journal

A sort of digital Kumbaya.

—- Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times

Citizens deserve open and easy access to all public court documents. Until public access becomes a matter of policy rather than blocked by PACER’s artificial pay wall, independent efforts like RECAP continue to fill a critical gap in our ability to foster a more participatory and engaged democracy.

—- Ari Schwartz, Center for Democracy and Technology

RECAP makes critical legal information more available at lower cost - a private innovation on public data that will help deliver on a cherished promise: government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

—- Jim Harper, Cato Institute and

Government records, including court records, belong to the public. By lowering the barriers that have made it difficult for citizens and non-profit investigative Centers to access these records, RECAP is making a valuable contribution to greater transparency and accountability, and therefore to Democracy.”

—- Bill Buzenberg, Executive Director of the Center for Public Integrity

Where the people are sovereign, government must always be accountable to citizens - and one important way to insure that remains so is by making government records available to the public. RECAP promises to make court records accessible to the public, helping to further guarantee the sovereignty of the people over our trusted servants in the government.”

—- Christopher Farrell, Director of Investigations & Research, Judicial Watch

As part of a trend toward opening access to American common law, RECAP’s place at the heart or the periphery of the movement remains to be seen. Like any crowdsourcing application, RECAP’s usefulness increases as more people use it. Yet PACER’s prime users are large, bill-paying law firms, which tend to be wary about adopting new technology and have little incentive to contribute documents they paid for to a free database.

“Success” for RECAP may not be mainstream adoption, however. Merely by creating the working plugin and calling attention to the problem of restricted access to court documents, CITP has advanced the cause of reforming and opening up access to PACER. That alone is “Turning PACER around.” —- Rajiv Batra in the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review

See also articles in the Arizona Attorney, Minnesota Lawyer, and Virginia Lawyer.