25 Years Later, PACER, Electronic Filing Continue to Change Courts
Twenty-five years ago, computers were hurtling America into the Information Age. From 1987 to 1989, the nation’s PC sales tripled, as consumers gained unprecedented power to process words, crunch numbers and print documents at home. The World Wide Web was still being invented, but early adopters were discovering personal email.
In federal courts, the revolution also was getting under way. Documents were still kept on paper, and law firm couriers lined up daily in clerk’s offices, waiting to pore through case files, but all that was about to change.
In September 1988, the Judicial Conference of the United States approved a new way of opening information to the public, through a service known as PACER—Public Access to Court Electronic Records.