How the Big Cases Bot Works

Big Cases Bot is built on the RECAP Suite, a collection of tools that anybody can use to enhance the legal system.

A goal of the Big Cases Bot is to demonstrate what can be done using these systems and to encourage others to build things too.

These are the tools that work behind the scenes whenever the Big Cases Bot posts an update:

  1. Docket Alerts — CourtListener maintains a database of federal cases and can send alerts whenever cases are updated. The Big Cases Bot uses the CourtListener API to subscribe to these alerts for important cases.

  2. RECAP Extensions — Users of the RECAP Extension and CourtListener's system of crawlers add data to the CourtListener database.

  3. Webhooks — When a subscribed case is updated, CourtListener uses its webhook system to send an event to

  4. PACER Fetch API — To purchase PACER documents and get the metadata it needs, uses CourtListener's Fetch API to crawl PACER and buy documents.

  5. Doctor — PDF thumbnails are made using Doctor, Free Law Project's tool for converting documents.

  6. — The code in ties everything together. It receives the webhook event, requests thumbnails, and posts updates to Twitter and Mastodon.

All of the code above is open source and ready for you to adopt in your projects.

What will you build?

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