The newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Government Lawyers
There are many sites that can assist you in finding public records. We focus here on free sites, but acknowledge that there are many services that will conduct background checks and similar acts for a fee. Many of the sites will lead you to the same information, but sometimes research via different sites can produce additional information. Here are just a few to get you started.
This Web site allows users to search public records and governmental Web sites in any state by city name. It boasts that it is a “resource of business information, corporate filings, property records, deeds, mortgages, criminal and civil court filings, inmates, offenders, births, deaths, marriages, unclaimed property, professional licenses, and much more.” It has more than 25,000 public records links. Access to portions of the Web site require the payment of a fee.
Pretrieve.com is a public records search engine that allows you to search across categories, a great help if you are looking for a broad range of information, not just financials for example.
LibrarySpot lists many public records sites. Additionally, it has a box listing links to many libraries and another box called “reference desk,” with such diverse topics as dictionaries, genealogy, and acronyms.
How to Investigate helps you, well, investigate! With some narrative suggestions, it outlines credit reports, state records, government agencies, and open records.
This Web site provides something for everyone. It lists state, city, county, and federal criminal court directories. Additionally, this site provides links to Social Security death matches, criminal most-wanted sites, and sex offender lists.
Here you can search public records by state.
Internet For Lawyers is an interesting site from the State Bar of California. There are links to many kinds of public records, including medical and attorney licenses. Additionally, there is a cyberspace law librarian and many articles on legislative research.
This federal government Web site is a treasure trove of information on every topic under the sun. You can search by level of government (local, state, federal), you can access laws and regulations, information on science and technology, and contact information for government offices. This one-stop-shopping approach to governmental public records is a great place to start.