I am not a lawyer, I am a judgment broker. This article is my opinion on how to make more money as a court records researcher, or for anyone who comes across civil court records in their line of work.
There are two ways to look at court records. One way is to use a court’s web site, and the other way is to visit the court in person. Every court is different, some court web sites are free and show you everything, others charge or show you almost nothing. Some courts charge a fee to park, and to look up records, and some are free.
When looking at court records online, you can find leads in any state. When finding leads in person, you must be there at the court.
Traditionally, court researchers worked for title report companies, credit reporting companies, and old-school judgment lead provider companies. These opportunities are limited because there are few new opportunities with such “old-school” court record research companies.
There are three new reasons to look at court records, for they can be of value to judgment brokers, debt settlers, and bankruptcy attorneys.
For judgment brokers (or judgment enforcers or judgment lead companies), one can look at post-judgment court records and search for judgments that have not been satisfied, vacated, already assigned, dismissed, etc. There are many more criteria one must check for. Also, one might need to find the debtors and creditors, and raw leads are often worthless, there are many articles on this subject.
Debt settlers are usually looking for both post and pre-judgment leads. The value of finding a pre-judgment (current litigation) lead is that a settler might help the creditor and debtor settle out of court, saving the costs and hassles of continuing the lawsuit.
Usually debt settlers are looking for business to business judgments, where one company owes money to another. These can be pre-judgment or post judgment leads. These might need to be screened to make sure the companies are still in business. Non-business pre and post-judgment (consumer) leads might also be of interest to some debt settlers.
Another reason to look at pre-judgment (current litigation) leads is for bankruptcy attorneys. Some defendants can save money going bankrupt to avoid pending litigation. Some bankruptcy lawyers are looking for leads and defendants in court cases could be good leads.
Note that (I am not a lawyer) lawyers generally cannot pay for referrals from non lawyers, but there may be some way a lawyer can hire you or compensate you in some way.
Clearly, there may be more value in researching court records (before or after a judgment) than many people realize. A court researcher could find pre-judgment leads for settlers or bankruptcy lawyers, and post judgment lead buyers or a judgment broker.