PacerPro Policy Regarding Federal ECF Credentials and Sealed Documents

PacerPro does not store CM/ECF credentials and does not access documents filed under seal.

SAN FRANCISCO, August 18, 2023 - In response to periodic notices from federal courts to CM/ECF account holders, PacerPro is issuing this updated policy that explains how PacerPro keeps sealed documents and restricted information confidential and secure. We specifically address the memorandum issued by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts on July 10, 2023, which states in part:

“Sharing your PACER account credentials with a third-party service provider or designating that provider as a secondary recipient of a Notice of Electronic Filing or Notice of Docket Activity (NEF/NDA) will give it access to sealed or restricted case information and documents in violation of court order.”

We respect and share the Courts’ goals of protecting sealed documents and other restricted information intended only for case participants, and we appreciate this opportunity to clarify PacerPro’s policies and procedures.

Below we provide information on the following PacerPro practices:

  • How PacerPro securely obtains public federal court data without CM/ECF credentials
  • Why PacerPro’s role as a secondary recipient of NEFs does not enable access to sealed documents
  • PacerPro’s process for helping firms identify and restrict access to inadvertent filings
  • PacerPro’s security measures and SOC 2 Type 2 certification
  • PacerPro’s commitment to professional ethics in the advancement of legal technology

Policy Details

  1. PacerPro does not store CM/ECF Credentials.
  2. PacerPro does not maintain, store, or associate our clients’ CM/ECF credentials. Instead, PacerPro accounts are tied to the law firm’s generic PACER account, which only allows users to download publicly available records from PACER.
  1. PacerPro is listed as a secondary recipient of Notices of Electronic Filing (NEFs), but we do not have access to sealed filings.
  2. Our clients designate PacerPro as a secondary recipient of NEFs, but PacerPro does not have access to documents filed under seal because we do not store a copy of the attorney CM/ECF credentials.
  3. Filings (sealed and public) are accessible through NEFs via an embedded hyperlink contained within the email. If a user or software system clicks the hyperlink embedded in a NEF pertaining to a public document, the document itself will immediately appear. In this instance, we create and label a PDF of the filing and distribute it to the case team.
  4. Where the NEF pertains to a sealed filing, the hyperlink does not directly link to the sealed filing. Instead, when a user or software service clicks the hyperlink, a pop-up appears requiring the attorney’s CM/ECF filing credentials. There are two safeguards that come in at this stage: one, we do not have the attorney credentials stored in our software, so our software would not be able to access the filing if we tried. Two, we do not try: we have designed our software to recognize the pop-up and immediately abort any effort to obtain the underlying filing.
  1. PacerPro limits the distribution of public filings where the docket text contains a reference to sealed information.
  2. In some instances, publicly filed documents mistakenly contain confidential information. This occurs when an attorney or case team labels the filing as “sealed” or “redacted”, but fails to properly redact information and/or incorrectly designates a confidential document as a public document on CM/ECF. Such documents are then made immediately available to the public on PACER and a host of third-party services, including PacerPro.
  3. PacerPro has implemented code that limits the distribution of case documents for any entry that contains the word “seal” or “redact” (all variants). Only firms on the Court’s NEF distribution list will receive such documents.
  1. PacerPro enables firms to claw back inadvertent filings in a timely fashion.
  2. As discussed in Section 3 above, sometimes firms inadvertently file private information publicly. PacerPro’s immediate delivery of the public filings in user-friendly PDF format ensures that the case team is instantly alerted about what information has been made available to the public - empowering them to take immediate steps to contact PACER and other third-party providers to remove the information and mitigate risk to their client. Acting quickly when there has been an unintentional disclosure is critical. If the firms wait hours or days (as they do when there is a manual distribution of filings), getting the proverbial cat back in the bag may be impossible.
  1. PacerPro immediately deletes inadvertent filings.
  2. PacerPro’s policy is to immediately delete inadvertently filed documents from our system as soon as anyone contacts us about the error. PacerPro also informs the individual as to other third-party services that may have copies of the inadvertently filed document (e.g., Lexis, CourtLink, Westlaw, Bloomberg, FastCase/DocketAlarm, DocketBird, CourtDrive) and reminds them that the document must be taken down from the PACER website as well. Note we provide night and weekend service.
  1. PacerPro’s security procedures meet or exceed best practices in the legal technology industry.
  2. As the legal industry continues to rely more on technology to streamline operations and deliver services, it is increasingly important for legal technology companies to prioritize cybersecurity and data privacy. Our information security practices, policies, procedures, and operations meet or exceed the best practices in the legal technology industry.
  3. PacerPro is also SOC 2 – Type 2 Certified. SOC 2 (Service Organization Control 2) is a certification issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to companies that can demonstrate they have implemented and adhered to effective controls to ensure the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of their client’s data.
  1. PacerPro prioritizes professional ethics in pursuit of advancing legal technology for the benefit of our clients and the profession at large.
  2. The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct require that, in order to “maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology...” PacerPro recognizes that as attorneys and legal professionals, we have a duty to leverage the latest technology and automation to deliver cost-effective, efficient services that save law firms and their clients significant time, money, and resources.

If you would like more information about the topics addressed in this policy, please reach out to us at any time at

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