As much as we complain about the PACER federal dockets, it pales in comparison to most of the state court docket systems when it comes to tracking and searching cases at the state and local levels. Josh Blandi, the co-founder, and CEO of Unicourt is leveraging APIs and normalizing court data across multiple state and local courts to help clean up the data and make searching and tracking better. Josh joins us to discuss how they are gathering the information, the roadblocks that state courts and the private companies they contract with throw up to restrict data, and some new advancements in Unicourt’s APIs that link multiple pieces of data to allow for better analytics. We also discuss the collaboration between companies like Justia, Fastcase, and others to pool their resources and reduce the overall costs of accessing the very expensive data that courts produce. One other side project Josh is doing with Public.Resources’ Carl Malamud is the Code Improvement Commission GitHub where they are posting the state statutes for Georgia, Tennessee, and other states for anyone to download and use without any copyright or licensing restrictions.

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Information Inspiration

Rocket Lawyer just announced that they will be testing the sandbox of non-lawyer ownership in Arizona. Rocket Lawyer already established such an operation in the UK and in Utah, and they and eight other companies have applied to the Arizona Supreme Court for their approval to start operations there with the goal of providing legal services for less than the price of hiring an attorney. Eyes are moving over to California now to see if they are the next state to create a sandbox for companies to provide alternative legal services.

The legal job market is hot! Leopard Solutions released a report showing that there are almost 8,300 open and available attorney jobs in the 1,000+ law firms they are tracking. Recruiters are overloaded with opportunities, so if you have a decent practice, expect some calls. We speculate that the same is going on for many of the law firm support positions. There’s going to be a lot of movement over the next year.

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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca

Marlene Gebauer  0:22

Welcome to The Geek in Review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.

Greg Lambert  0:29

I’m Greg Lambert. Well, this week, we bring in Josh Blandi from Unicourt and talk about their project there to use GitHub to distribute open source non copyrighted state statutes really cool project to working on exactly, and also how they’re bridging the divide between the different courts on accessing data from these courts with a common interface. You know, as we said here before, we used to think PACER was really bad, but man, these state courts are so much worse when it comes to accessing their their information.

Marlene Gebauer  1:01

Yeah, so stick around for that conversation. But now let’s get to this week’s information inspirations.

Marlene Gebauer  1:11

So, Greg, you and I have talked about some of the sandboxes that the western US states like Utah, Arizona and Washington are doing. Well, the folks over at Rocket Lawyer are already testing on lawyer ownership in Utah, and just announced that they’re going to do the same in Arizona. In a Bloomberg law article. Rocket Lawyer, founder and CEO Charlie Moore said they are going to fully participate in Arizona, and will tweak its operations to fit the Arizona rules and market and provide a service at a lower cost than hiring an attorney. Currently, Arizona approved three alternative legal service providers. Now Rocket Lawyer and eight other companies are applying for approval from the state Supreme Court. The industry is now keeping an eye on California as they are watching how this goes and other states. But looks like a real possibility that California will create its own sandbox at some point.

Greg Lambert  2:00

That will be a game changer. If California jumps in, you’re gonna see a lot more states. Oh, yeah. dominoes start kicking over

Marlene Gebauer  2:07

It will only be a matter of time before New York and Texas and Illinois. And all the other ones jump in.

Greg Lambert  2:13

Yeah. And I have not met Charlie Moore from Rocket Lawyer, but everyone who has been super impressed with him. So maybe at some point we can get him on.

Marlene Gebauer  2:24

I think that sounds like a good idea. Because we’ve been wanting to do a sandbox episode. So this might be a good one.

Greg Lambert  2:31

Marlene, our friends, Laura Leopard. And Phil Flora over at Leopard Solutions released some really interesting statistics last week that showed that as of May 14 2021, there are 8268 open and available attorney jobs at the 1000 or so law firms that they track with leopard solutions. Wow. Yeah. And that’s really, yeah. So if you’re looking,

Marlene Gebauer  3:02

they’re out there.

Greg Lambert  3:02

There’s a 70% increase in the number of open jobs right now. And the competition for talent is just fierce, legal recruiters out there are, shall we say, a little bit overloaded with the demand right now. And the firm’s are working really hard to keep the talent from from being poached. But I will say this, if you’re an attorney, and you got a decent book of business, you are in high demand. And I know that, you know, this report is focused on the attorneys but I can’t imagine that the demand isn’t out there also for support staff talent, you know, marketing, research, IT, finance, and you know, practically everyone else in the firm and there’s just going, it’s going to be a hot market. Over the next six to 12 months, you’re gonna see a lot, a lot of movement. So expect some calls from the recruiters people,

Marlene Gebauer  3:54

uh huh.

Greg Lambert  3:56

And that wraps up this week’s information inspiration.

Greg Lambert  4:04

If you’ve ever tracked state and local court dockets, you understand that the process is difficult at best and darn near impossible with some of the courts due to the lack of access that these courts have. Today’s guest talks about his company’s quest to make it easier to track across federal, state and local courts. And as a side project. He’s also working on bringing some of the state’s laws and codes out from behind paywalls and open for everyone.

Marlene Gebauer  4:32

We’d like to welcome Josh Blandi, CEO and co founder of Unicourt. Josh, welcome to The Geek in Review.

Josh Blandi  4:38

Hi, thanks Greg, Marlene for having me today.

Greg Lambert  4:41

It’s good to have you. So Josh, I know that you have a lot of interesting projects going on at Unicourt right now. And we’re going to get to that in a bit. But there’s one thing that I really wanted to talk about first with you and that was your work in creating the code improvement commission GitHub where you posted at Initially the entire official code of Georgia annotated, and as you refer to it in beautiful HTML. So, right, yeah. And you did that right after the us supreme court’s ruling about Georgia and LexisNexis, not being able to claim copyright to a state statutes. Can you tell us a little bit more about the mission for the the code improvement commission, GitHub, and who else is involved in that project?

Josh Blandi  5:25

Yeah, sure. You know, that was a huge Supreme Court decision. It was really spearheaded by Carl Malamud from public, it spent a lot of time and effort on, you know, kind of fighting these battles to make the law, you know, copyright free, basically, no one could kind of own the law. And so after that Supreme Court decision, we started working with him and a bunch of other people to kind of overall beautify these kind of ugly RTF files that we had gotten from George’s annotated state codes, putting them into HTML files, we created something called the code improvement commission, and we have a GitHub site for it, where it will act as a public repository for the public to access all these codes. And essentially, that kind of code improvement commission was spearheaded by Carl, and has a lot of other contributors, like us, you know, justia, was involved in this fastcase was involved in this Cornell’s legal information Institute, and really many, many others. And the idea was that we wanted to make all the state laws publicly accessible and available, and under a kind of no rights reserved, you know, copyright free model, kind of these days of the states. You’re working with these private vendors, and then you know, the private vendors claiming copyright over the law, you know, this this case, kind of set that for that’s not people, can

Greg Lambert  7:00

we we actually had multiple episodes, specifically on this case. Yeah.

Marlene Gebauer  7:06

It was a really interesting, so like, there’s a lot of South East and Mid South state codes in there. Now, how many more states do you project will be added? And do you know, the timeframe and specifically, do you know when new jersey is going to be in there?

Josh Blandi  7:19

I don’t know when new jersey is going to be there. So these these very states like we, when we took Georgia, we went out in there, I think there was about Carl had done a lot of work, but there was I think are on 15 or 17, maybe 20 of these states that had a very similar contractual relationship. So we’ve initially targeted, you know, those states to work on. So it makes sense release codes for Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky. What’s up next in the pipe is to transform the codes for Colorado, for Idaho. And then we’re also kind of working on, you know, a redline capability that will show the differences in the code from the previous versions. We also kind of added these codes, we provided the codes in HTML, but then we added these RTF parsers that were created. So these are basically RTF files that would transform these codes into usable HTML. But these parsers, we also put the code base up on GitHub for that. So if anybody wanted to download the raw RTF files, and use our parser, to parse out this, the data themselves, maybe they didn’t like the way we structured it, or what metadata we put on top of it, they can also grab those parser codes. And then kind of like,

Marlene Gebauer  8:31

that is cool.

Josh Blandi  8:33

As we as we’ve kind of done the the actual kind of technical work for public resource to put these up on GitHub, you know, Carl, and some of the other people with code unproven commission to you know, writing letters to legislators and judges trying to convince more states to reconsider their their copyright positions and kind of work with the code improvement commission to make the laws more accessible and usable. So so for example, there was like a Berkeley Law Clinic that prepared a letter to the California Judicial Council and Vanderbilt law school clinic that sent a letter to Tennessee Code Authority, because there’s still states out there, even after the Supreme Court case, that still are claiming copyright over their loss. And so, you know, the end goal is that we can maybe get to a state where the states would hand these codes over to the code improvement commission, we could do some technical work on the code posted, allow the state to, you know, make improvements and changes to it. And then we could publish these on that the public repositories.

Greg Lambert  9:34

Well, it’s a great project. So happy, happy you and Carl and all the others are working on that. So that’s best of luck and hope, hope you’re able to get some more out there pretty soon. So you started Unicourt back in. I think it was 2014. So what motivated you to jump into this venture?

Josh Blandi  9:57

Oh, it’s come a long story, but I’ll Make it very short.

Greg Lambert  10:01

All right.

Josh Blandi  10:02

Now I had founded a debt relief company back in 2008, to kind of help consumers resolve their debts. And kind of as a part of that process, you know, we about a year and a half into that starting that company, you know, we had consumers that were getting kind of sued by banks for not paying their debts. And, you know, we were a private company, we weren’t a law firm, we couldn’t represent these people. And so, overall, make kind of for a terrible experience for the consumer terrible experience for, you know, kind of a PR nightmare for a company. And here, these people trusted you to kind of guide them to get, you know, debt free. And then they started about five or 10% of them were getting sued in that process. So we ended up partnering with a number of law firms kind of developing a low cost, high volume model for firms to help these people, you know, for firms to represent and defend these, these collection lawsuits. And what it was interested in came out of that was, you know, these ended up becoming initially, these were some of the worst clients that be really became the best clients with the highest graduation rate when I had some legal help to partner on with it. So as a result of that, we said, you know, how do we get access to more lawsuits, more court data? And how can we find more people being sued by debt buyers, banks, credit card companies. And so this is where we began to look around, and we went to the major providers of Lexis and Westlaw and Bloomberg trying to get, you know, bulk access to new cases being filed. And largely, you know, back, this is back in 2012, when we kind of started that, you know, it was pretty much not available, it wasn’t available in bulk, it was, you know, very fractured all over the place, there’s there really no consistency to

Greg Lambert  11:51

it probably really expensive too.

Josh Blandi  11:53

Yeah, very expensive. And essentially, they, you know, they weren’t, they didn’t have the, the ability for us to consume it in bulk. So, you know, we kind of started as a project in 2012, to kind of start building out, you know, our abstractors, to get this data off of public portals to purchase it from court databases, whatever mixture was required to access it from the courts, eventually, we got pretty good, we built out a platform, which, you know, today became Unicourt, to kind of find new cases and to market basically use it for business development purposes. And, you know, right around 2014, it had kind of grown beyond, you know, what it was originally intended for, it’s kind of a project for a company. And, you know, this is when we kind of saw some tremendous need in the market for court data, and really kind of what I coined, as you know, legal data is a service, right? You know, legal data is is very important mixture of our three important data set, right, that is important to fortune 500 companies, it’s important to, you know, law firms, it’s important to virtually every industry, that there’s a piece of that industry is involved in litigation. And you know, with all these courts being so fractured, and all this data being so siloed, you know, what was kind of needed in the marketplace was where people or companies could rely on people like us to provide this stream of legal data kind of in a real time structured fashion.

Marlene Gebauer  13:17

So yeah, let’s talk about fractured data and incomplete data and, and all of those good things that that information professionals are very, very aware of, particularly when it comes to court data. For those of us who have tracked cases in state and federal courts. You know, we understand the complexity of the databases, and while we have Pacer, and that covers the federal courts, and is fairly uniform in its structure, the state courts are just all over the place and how data is gathered, how it’s processed, and how it’s displayed. You’re using API’s to normalize these different types of data. And would you mind explaining what an API is and what normalizing data means? Because it’s super, super, super important? Yes.

Josh Blandi  14:09

Yeah, I mean, you make a good point. Yeah. So basically, the problem with courts is, you know, every clerk or courts gonna do things their own way, right? They kind of have their

Marlene Gebauer  14:21

or they just ignore the way they’re supposed to do.

Josh Blandi  14:23

It just make it up as they go, which we, we see to actually, we see this a lot in Texas. And so you know, the way they organize their records, you know, that technology, so you know, there’s all these these big vendor providers, like Tyler technologies in journal, right, that go into a court and they get these expensive contracts. And really, their job is to sell the court on the customization, which is really what they shouldn’t be doing. And they shouldn’t be selling them on like a standard way that this data should be organized and structured. You know, they call it different things, right. These are all nomenclature. And so you know, one of the advantages Using an API like ours, for example, it provides a standardized way to access core data across all state and federal courts. And kind of an added benefit of this technology is the standardization of the data itself across jurisdictions. This includes Standard Bank standardizing things like you know, the types of cases, the party types, you know, the case statuses represented representation,

Marlene Gebauer  15:25

all the indexing is going to be different.

Josh Blandi  15:27

Exactly, you know, docket entries. So, for example, you want to standardize certain motions and certain types of entries and make relationships to those, you know, who’s been involved, what judge was involved in that docket entry, or that or that event, we’ll call it right, what attorneys, what parties, what law firms, what documents were associated with it right. And then kind of on top of that, you know, is something we do a lot of work on is kind of normalizing the entities themselves. So think of these court records, it’s just really kind of names on a docket, you know, so these are just attorney names and offer names and party names and judge names, right? These aren’t really real world entities, you know, they’re not they don’t, it’s not a law firm with an address, right? It’s registered with a certain Secretary of State. So as a kind of part of that standardization with API’s, we know, we collect a lot of the public record data sets, like, you know, we collect, I think our data now from 48 of the different bars reflect secretary of state data sets. And what we use those as for baseline data sets, so that when we see a new filing happening involving a corporation, for example, or attorney, we can actually tie that name to a real world entity that’s registered with the state or a bar and make them unique, so that therefore you can search that attorney records or corporations record, not only within a court, but across courts and across the whole entire country, regardless of what states he’s barred in.

Greg Lambert  16:58

So and I know listeners have heard me talk about this before. But you know, years ago, I once worked at the state court in Oklahoma, where, you know, we attempted to unify the the court dockets. So that state and I can say, Now, I think I think the statute of limitations maybe maybe over on that, but you know, that whole process was was like putting your hand in a buzzsaw when it came to trying to get the local courts to change the way that they were inputting data, if they were inputting data at all and to use some some sort of unified system to produce the the data and make it available. Are you seeing any type of positive movement in the state courts to be more open with their data or at least normalizing the data that they’re inputting?

Josh Blandi  17:51

I’m a little bit but not a lot. And I actually the thing that kind of interests me going back to the code improvement commission that I found fascinating was, you know, what Carl had seen, in terms of copywriting, the law on this kind of assertion over ownership of it was caused a lot of the same things that we see actually at the state court level, where, you know, these courts, you know, will enter into contracts with vendors, these big providers that make these case management, electronic filing systems for the court, right. And as a result of that, these vendors will take a lot of control over the data itself, at the court being the court doesn’t have a lot of flexibility, in terms of how did they can structure the data, how they can make it more publicly available. You know, giving example is like, there’s probably like half a dozen or less courts united states that have natural API that you can even plug into, right. And those are the really more forward looking courts, like Miami Dade is an example before looking court that does that. But in a lot of that is really just about you’re trying to control that data within the courts for financial reasons, both at the court level and for mainly within the vendors themselves. In my humble opinion, the only way I really see that changing is for there to be a lot more advancements in open source, case management electronic management systems, which basically give, you know, courts about 80 or 90%, of what they need. And that kind of last mile is customized. And courts can now own that code. And they can they can move off of these systems at will if they’re not happy with the you know, the service or of their systems. So if they don’t like a Tyler technology or journal technology, and they want to move to another vendor, they can’t because they own their code. They own the way that their data is structured. And that would make for a much more innovative way that the courts can interact with the public and their systems themselves. And then using things I’m not sure if you’re familiar with like SALI, and the standardization wing, you know, those are good examples of that type of work that actually could go into those types of courses. stones and actually go into rdps as well.

Marlene Gebauer  20:02

You mentioned Miami Dade as sort of being forward thinking in terms of of a state court. How are they a good example to follow? And are there any other trailblazers out there in terms of state courts, for other courts to follow when it comes to accessing dockets, and other useful information?

Josh Blandi  20:24

Well, there’s a couple examples. Miami-Dade it’s great because you can plug into their API’s to get a feed of this data in a fairly structured format. The downside is they all are kind of partial solutions. So for example, Miami Dade, I can get all the docket information, right. But I can’t get access to documents, I can only get that through the public portal. So what you kind of invariably have have to do is take a feed and have a bot that lives on top of the site to grab documents, right. And then you kind of merge that together. You know, New York is another example where you get a feed of their docket. But again, their documents live in a different portal and aren’t available through API. Los Angeles did a great job on their media portal, where they were making you know, all of their documents virtually available upon filing, which so there wasn’t this delay of days before people could access the documents that there be the access portal. And as much as we talked about Pacer, you know, Pacer is the most forward system out there, and even Pacer itself, like, we don’t even Pacer has API’s, but we don’t use patient’s API’s, we actually parse the HTML files from Pacer just because the API’s don’t provide the breadth of data that we get from parsing the the full docket reports from Pacer. So, in general, there’s not a lot of, there’s a ton of room for improvement. And that space

Greg Lambert  21:50

sounds like even even the ones that are doing a good job, you still kind of have to Frankenstein the process.

Josh Blandi  21:57

And it’s because the vendors don’t support that. Tyler doesn’t have a solution for API access to their data sets. And they probably have a vested interest in not allowing that because then that kind of makes competitors to to them. You know, like we saw this a hear in Texas, for example, you know, what, what I’ve seen in Texas is you have all these, you know, local courts that we build these bots that go out and grab this information from the sites or we pay practices to the database, whichever, you know, is the easiest way for us to get the information. And then these are all these are all systems built by Tyler, which is the exclusive provider in Texas. But then what Tyler did is they they made this, you know, Texas portal statewide portal to access all their records, right. And what they’re doing is that they told the local courts, Oh, you don’t have to maintain this site anymore, right? for people to access it, you can just push the data to our statewide site. But the problem is when it gets pushed up to their portal, this is now a private portal that claims copyright and ownership over everything in it. So if you’re a provider like us who are going to aggregate data, you’ll be violating their terms of service. Right. So that’s a good example of kind of how there’s been this kind of incestuous relationship, even with courts now. And these providers similar to the state legislators and the laws and codes.

Greg Lambert  23:16

Did the pandemic improve or make matters worse, when it can’t? When it comes to accessing the data?

Josh Blandi  23:23

I think it only accelerated, you know, if you look at the number of courts that had data online, you know, 10 years ago, it’s it’s a fraction of what it is today. This was a big wake up call for courts. I mean, you think about access to justice issues when you literally have like, I’m here in Orange County, and we had the court not hearing hearings for six months, for eight months. That’s, that’s crazy, right? So we can’t moving forward, we can’t go just stopping justice, because of a pandemic, you know, you know, some of these things are not as important, but I mean, think about how many businesses is affected? And how many lives are individuals affected? Not being able to, like have their case heard, right, read this is like restraining orders, evictions. You know, any family matters, right? breach of contract cases, you know, across across the board. So I definitely think it’s definitely accelerated.

Greg Lambert  24:14

One of the projects that I know you were talking beforehand. And you had mentioned some projects you’re working on within the legal data API’s. And there’s something that you’re calling Apollo, and you’ve just released some alpha documentation on these new suites of API’s. What are they going to be able to do that you’re not able to do now?

Josh Blandi  24:39

Yeah, so our Apollo project as we’ve kind of codenamed it is a massive project that we’ve been working on for well over a year and a half at this point. And this kind of came about as we released our first version of API’s, they were really just you know, initially was a test for us into the market to see how widely accepted they would be. And as a result of that, we got a fantastic about two years worth of fantastic feedback from fortune 500 companies AmLaw 200 firms, you know, these brains across industries like background check, big law, insurance, you know, financial services, news and media, really a whole host of industries that were kind of using this legal data as a service. And so we took this this feedback. And you know, for last year and a half, we’ve been working on these Apollo API’s. And these will provide a lot of functionality, new functionality on top of our basically integrate our analytics, and our normalization, we built on top of the original kind of API’s that we developed. So it basically it deeply integrates and allows for kind of a streamlined approach to getting not only dockets and documents in real time, but also for getting, you know, analytical or aggregate data, say on parties, attorneys, law firms, judges, case types, courts, it’s laying the foundation so that eventually you could do things like get stuff like docket level events, like motions, for example, it basically kind of integrates a lot of the analytical. And you can go from one data point into another data point. So for example, you could say, you know, you want to move from point data to a specific case, right, and you could then go into getting, you know, data on that plaintiff’s attorney involved in that case. And then you could go into seeing the aggregate data on that attorney for getting kind of all the cases attorney has handled say before a judge, or all the opposing counsel, that attorney is faced, for example, so allows you to go in from a case and end up, you know, aggregate data about attorney allows you to go in from a judge and end up on opposing counsel stats, right?

Greg Lambert  26:51

Yep. So sounds like you follow me and my research methods where I just jumped from one to one thing and into the next and not sure how you end up with it, but get a good story at the end of it. So that sounds really, really interesting. How are you going to roll this out and test it with your customers.

Josh Blandi  27:11

So we released the alpha documentation, which is available for people to access, we’ll be taking comment on it, or feedback on it until August 1. All the while we’re still doing the development side of things. I think that’s about 80% done at this point. And then it’ll get released. And you’ll go to an alpha release for use in first part of third quarter this year. And I’ll go to GA release in early 2022.

Marlene Gebauer  27:41

So Josh, what would you like to see happen to improve overall access to court data? And what would it take to make something like that happen? And is that something you’re gonna make happen?

Josh Blandi  27:54

That’s a great question. So you know, I think kind of following this, you know, open courts act the to kind of make your Pacer more freely, freely available, and you know, to kind of open up Pacer. I think there’s kind of an important point missed on this. You know, Pacer keeps saying you know how much money this is going to cost to do this to remodle into modernize you know, Pacer itself and, but really the way I’ve kind of looked at it and you know, Carl from public resources weighed in pretty heavily on this and a bunch of other people is what should happen in this goes for not just pays for it for any court is the first foundation should be about creating the standardized data structure and making API’s available for that. And then you can allow, you know, the kind of private sector to innovate and create solutions. So Pacer doesn’t have a problem with Pacer. The problem with Pacer, nobody can access it, in bulk right. I mean, that’s the real, that’s a real problem, a pacer. I can’t go down, download everything, and Pacer or without paying a billion dollars. Right, right. But if the API’s were available for Pacer in something that was affordable or free, right, then we could put it in databases like ours and do all kinds of cool stuff with it, right? firms could download data sets and do all kinds of innovative stuff with it. Right? You can automate all kinds of process flows with it. So I think the foundation is is is the standardization of the data structure itself and the API layer on top of it. And then step aside and let the private industry take it from there.

Greg Lambert  29:23

Just since you brought up Pacer. I want to ask you about the Pacer collective that you’ve started. Why did you start that and who’s always involved in that process?

Josh Blandi  29:33

Yeah, that’s that’s a pretty that’s something that we started about, I think 2017 and essentially with a pacer collective is is, you know, we were going out each day and we were downloading the the full docket reports for every case that was filed into Pacer and so was one of our partners Justia was doing the same thing. And we’re both paying, you know, hundreds of 1000s of dollars and Pacer fees, right. And so You know, I got together with Tim Stanley from Justia and said, Hey, you know, let’s, there’s a better way to do this, you know, how about you rely on our infrastructure, we’ll go grab the HTML files, we can set up some, you know, standard practices on how we hand these off, and our extraction schedules, and libraries of information we collect. And then you can grab these and we can split the cost. So this initially, you know, out the gate, we were paying 50% less in Pacer fees, right. And then, you know, Tim Stanley connected with Ed Walters from Fastcase, and said, you know, Hey, would you like to join this? And of course, there was like, Yeah, sounds like a great idea. And so then we have a Fastcase join in, we’ve been kind of building some momentum from there. But what it’s what we’ve been able to achieve with the Patriot collective is, I’m not too hopeful that anything like the open courts acts will ever get past to be honest with you, I think there’s just too much entrenchment within the judiciary, to to give up that, essentially, that source of money for them in terms of Pacer fees, basically called source of revenue for them. And I think the Pacer collective is a much more effective way to kind of normalize the cost of Pacer. And so for example, we can do with the Pacer collective is, as we add more members to it also being say, Hey, you know, we start off pulling every case and Pacer, the full docket reported day one. Now we pull every case at day 60. So we can see who all the parties involved in all the attorneys, so we can establish relationships with those. And then an end goal would be we pull every Pacer case at six months. And then when it’s closed, right, and then we have a complete data set of the document Pacer for a fraction of the cost, I think there was like, last time I read there was like 50 to 75, major aggregators of Pacer data. And when I say major, these are companies that are spinning over 200-250,000 a year. Now, if we could get 20 or 30 of them on the collective, essentially, it would be affordable, even for law firms to come in and join it.

Greg Lambert  32:06

As anything to reduce my PACER costs would be

Marlene Gebauer  32:09

anything, just simplify the price.

Greg Lambert  32:14

Josh Blandi, thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us. It sounds like you got some great stuff going on there. .

Marlene Gebauer  32:19

Thank you, Josh.

Josh Blandi  32:20

I really appreciate you having me. And thanks again, for reaching out.

Marlene Gebauer  32:28

Greg, I gotta tell you, that was really interesting in terms of what Josh is doing. And you know, it really makes me what I’d like, get my hands on that API and like, see, like, Okay, what what can we do with it? You know, yeah, it’s just some really cool stuff.

Greg Lambert  32:41

Yeah. And that’s what you know, it’s one of the things we talk a lot. And we’ve talked a lot about accessing data from courts, and as much as we do complain about Pacer. It’s a whole different game when it comes to the state courts. And I know that in is and i think is far in advanced, as I thought we were in Oklahoma, I, you know, there’s a number of things that Josh had listed, such as, you know, creating an API or, you know, some way to normalize some of the data, accessing the documents and the docket, that a lot of courts need to really kind of up their game on. Yeah, I don’t think they will. But they need to

Marlene Gebauer  33:22

know, I mean, it’s it’s key, because again, like one court might call something one thing, and it’s, it’s essentially the same as something that’s named something else in another court. And so how are you supposed to be able to compare and, and I really do like the idea of, okay, we get the API and, you know, we standardized and we normalize the information, and then we let the private sector, you know, go at it. Yeah. You know, we start with it with a base solution and let people make their own, you know, creations after that. Yeah.

Greg Lambert  33:53

Well, you know, let the courts do what the courts do well, and let the private industry do what the private industry does well.

Marlene Gebauer  33:58


Greg Lambert  33:59

Alright. Well, thanks again to Josh Blandi from Unicourt for coming in and talk to us.

Marlene Gebauer  34:05

Yeah, thank you, Josh. Before we go, we want to remind listeners to take the time to subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts, rate and review us as well. If you have comments about today’s show, or suggestions for a future show, you can reach us on Twitter at @gebauerm or at @glambert, or you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 or email us at And as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thank you, Jerry.

Greg Lambert  34:38

Thanks, Jerry. All right, Marlene, I will talk with you later.

Marlene Gebauer  34:41

All right, see you later.