January 21, 2010
Taxpayers Pick Up the Tab for DOJ's Legal Search: Over $15 Million for WEXIS and PACER
Per a FOIA request by Carl Malamud, the DOJ disclosed that it spent more than $15 million for legal research last year. The DOJ responded on its own behalf as well as on behalf of the DEA and the Office of the Solicitor General. The documents, available here, reveal the terms and costs of the DOJ's contracts for legal research.
From Robert J. Ambrogi's Legal Blog Watch post:
For use of PACER, the DOJ was due to pay the U.S. courts $4 million on Nov. 13. This payment would provide access to PACER in 2010 for all DOJ employees. The cost to the DOJ of PACER access has risen sharply since 2003, the first year covered by these documents, when it was $800,000. For 2004, that more than doubled, to $2 million, and it has risen steadily ever since.
For legal research on WestLaw and LexisNexis, the DOJ entered into contracts with both companies in 2004. Its contract with West was for an initial annual amount of $5 million. With LexisNexis, it contracted to pay $4.4 million for legal research, $500,000 for public records research, and $170,000 for other research services.
The LexisNexis contract provided annual renewal options that would bring the base legal research cost to $5.6 million in 2010 and $5.9 million in 2011. DOJ's total payment to LexisNexis for legal research from fiscal years 2005 to 2011 would be $36 million.
Hat tip to Mitchell Rubinstein, Adjunct Law Prof Blog. [JH]