Clearinghouse Reboot: New Features and Functions

March 24, 2022

Logo: Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse

The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse is thrilled to roll out this new version of our site. 

The Clearinghouse brings together and analyzes civil rights cases from across the United States, making those cases more accessible to the public, at no cost. That's still true. What's new is that we’ve completely revamped our website and its underlying technology! 

  • New search capabilities: search by dozens of fields, with the ability to combine particularized searches of text, documents, and cases. For example, here's a search of use of force policing reform cases filed since 2005 that led to consent decrees. 
  • Improved display: We are now displaying dockets in a fully searchable format. And while we continue to collect each case's core documents, it's now far easier for our users to themselves retrieve documents we don't have, often for free (from the Free Law RECAP project). 
  • Quicker and more frequent updates: Because our new coding platform allows automated retrieval of dockets, we no longer have to wait for law students to update each case by hand. Instead, we're doing weekly updates of federal case dockets for ongoing cases.  
  • More modern site design. We've aligned the site with current web design aesthetics and idioms.
  • Better mobile access. And we've implemented design principles that work with every screen size. 

With changes this significant, no doubt there will be glitches requiring adjustments, hopefully small.  Please email us with any errors you notice or suggestions for improvement. 

We have more improvements on the way; we'll be improving the user interface and increasing automation of case coding (which will allow expansion and more up-to-date case pages). And we are working with computer scientists at the Allen Institute for AI to use the Clearinghouse as a machine learning testbed to train computer assistance with case summaries.  

The improvements are due to amazing work by data scientist Nathan Dahlberg and senior software developer Jasmine Gump, and all our other staff and students. The work was and is supported by the University of Michigan Law School, the Vital Projects Fund, and Arnold Ventures