HomeAbout/Meet the Staff
SPJ 23 Website

Beyond the bar

By Billy O'Keefe

MELANIE HICKEN / The Working Press
More goes on in a courthouse than just trials. Here are some tips from the Saturday session “Underneath the Robes” for finding stories off the docket.
1. Get to know the judges, lawyers and law clerks in your area. Some of them will never talk, but many can turn into valuable sources.
2. Have a low threshold for news. Potential stories can be found in the seemingly mundane.
3. Follow the money. Get financial disclosures for federal judges to investigate any conflicts of interest. Get 10-Ks from local companies to learn about lawsuits against them.
4. Look through search warrants. They have information about ongoing cases.
5. Don’t neglect the municipal courts. They have interesting stories, too.