About Scales

The Northwestern Open Access to Court Records Initiative (NOACRI) expanded into SCALES (Systematic Content Analysis of Litigation EventS) and we continue working to build a platform that will empower anyone who has a question to ask about federal court records to easily find their answer.


transform the accessibility & transparency of federal courts

Currently most of the workings of the federal judiciary, whether that be how judges differ in managing cases, how plaintiffs and defendants maneuver in run-of-the-mill lawsuits, or how cases involving corporations differ from those with individuals, are hidden from the public and researchers. This isn’t because data about the workings of the court is unavailable. It’s because the data is locked behind a paywall with an interface that prevents users from assessing systematic patterns about court activity.

Our group from Data Science, Social Science, Journalism, and the Law, is focused on building a community and equipping it with the tools it needs to understand and engage with the workings of the federal judiciary from the beginning to the end of every single case. To illuminate the full picture, we are linking court data to a significant amount of other public data about the litigants, judges, lawyers, and courts.

We are currently working on both federal civil and criminal case matter, but have expansion efforts into state court matters underway. 


Join Us

We are looking for people and organizations who want to help shape this new platform to use federal litigation data. Whether you’re a journalist, not for profit, lawyer, researcher, company, or institute, we are interested in working with you to develop a more open and inclusive future for legal analytics.