Dockets and court documents

Any plan to support dockets and court document and optimize workflow when dealing with those? Or what would be the easier way to do it through customization?

No, we don’t have any concrete plans to add more legal document types. Although we have gotten a few requests, there was not much demand initially and we did not make this a priority.

The problem is we don’t even know what kind of documents would make sense to include. Also law documents are not the same internationally.

Can you give any concrete examples of documents you want to cite, ideally with some web-links?

Also if other’s who came to this thread searching for court document support, please let us know if you have concrete suggestions.

Paperpile is amazing, but I had to go back to go back to Zotero because of the lack of a court “Case” type. I also use “Legislation” and "Treaties"documents in my research.

Here is the OSCOLA citation quick guide on what legal references look like

I can’t imagine this being difficult to implement as these categories are already available in Zotero and Mendeley.

Thanks so much for this document. We’ll have a look at it and think how we can add these document types to Paperpile. As said before we did not have many users from legal backgrounds initially so we did not include it from the start. As we are growing now this becomes more relevant and it’s definitely on our radar.

I’ve been testing the major software related to citations and saving references all weekend. My biggest complaint was either they were difficult to use and understand or lacked features. Then I found Paperpile. I was extremely impressed with the ease of use and the integration with Google Drive & Google Docs.

However, as I got into the program, I found the lack of the “Case” type as well. I found this thread and wanted to ask for a follow-up to see what the status of possibly implementation was.

A basic “Case” type would only need the following:

  • Year
  • Case Style
  • Case Number or Court Reporter Number
  • Court
  • Abstract of Syllabus

Additional fields could include:

  • Date Filed or Date Granted
  • Date Argued
  • Date Decided
  • Petitioner
  • Respondent

As far as document examples, you could use any of the ones available in Google Scholar for the U.S. Supreme Court. For example,

Thanks Scott. We are working on a major update that includes many new reference types. And we have a special focus on legal documents. We will post updates and probably also questions here.What we’ve found so far is that it’s not too hard to include those reference types but getting the citations correct is a major challenge.

For what its worth, I don’t think any of the current bibliographic management softwares handles legal citations very well, due to the complexity of legal citations and diversity of courts (I have to cite various African court decisions quite a bit, and figuring out a uniform citation standard for them is a bit of a nightmare). My point is that as long as major types of decisions are handled correctly, it would be perfectly understandable if less frequently cited courts appear a bit wonky and in need of manual edits.

Hi Niklas,

What software are you now using to do your legal doc citations? Would be good for us to know what strengths and weaknesses other reference managers have on this topic.

Hi Andreas - I mostly do it by hand, actually, which is a bit of a pain. But I have found that even if a particular piece of software does, say, UK legal citation fairly well, it is of little help when I need to cite a Nigerian case. I end up either endlessly tweaking styles in EndNote or Zotero or having to go in and manually edit each citation.

In general, what I have found is that a lot of times things fall apart in two cases:
a) Legal cases that are not reported
b) Treaties beyond the UN system

In some cases, the Bluebook offers very little help (for example, I had to write a paper referencing an unreported Gambian legal case, and I could not figure out how to cite it) - and I imagine that would be true for other legal citation systems as well.

That’s a very interesting discussion and I look forward to the major update that will introduce new document types. As of now, how would you reference to a legal document like this?



Not quite the same, but I am using the “Standard” reference type for UN resolutions and the like. Things always end up wonky in terms of citations (and this is true for most software packages - I cannot think of a single program that handles UN resolutions well) and you would have to edit by hand in the end, but at least you have the relevant bibliographic data in a way that makes sense.

For what it is worth, I recently presented my first paper written solely with Paperpile and it was a really enjoyable experience. Here’s hoping the legal side gets improved so I can use it more broadly.

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@nhultin thanks for sharing your workflow!

~ Robert

I’m hoping that in a future update you’ll include options for citing bills and laws. For example, I would be interested in citing documents like the following:

Thanks for all your work on this program!

I would say that just replicating what Zotero does–or I assume any of the other managers–would be a good first step. They all seem to have trouble with legal, but the current situation, where paperpile simply doesn’t handle legal cases, is unsustainable.

I’m not a legal scholar, but I probably cite a court case every year or two. Unfortunately my first citation on my first try using Paperpile is to the famous pornography decision in Jacobellius v. Ohio (“I know it when I see it”); and it just doesn’t make it over from Zotero.

Hi. I was just wondering if there was any news on this. I just learned about Paperpile from some science-oriented friends, but I work mostly with legal documents (both academic papers and cases), and would rather wait to start my trial until the update mentioned above is rolled out, assuming it’s still in the roadmap. I’m also happy to help beta test or work out how to best include legal documents.



@andreas, I’m also wondering if any progress has been made on this front. I am going to law school soon, and because of its amazing PDF viewer, good sorting capabilities, and so on, I would really like to continue using Paperpile to manage my research.

Also pinging again; any progress here? I started my free trial just to see, but working with legal documents in the current setup is difficult. Thanks!

Hi, just wanted to ask as well. Do you have any plans to do something about this? I love your software, but I work mostly with legal documents.

Good News! We will ship support for “Legal Case”, “Statute”, “Treaty” and “Bill” with the next release of Paperpile.

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If you are going to do “Statute” it only makes sense that you would allow for “Regulation”. They are just as common, if not more so, and widely used in the legal field.

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