Written by Neil J. Squillante. This article first appeared via TechnoLawyer TL NewsWire.
What you don’t know can hurt your cases. When you need to find facts beyond the reach of your client or discovery — locate a witness or find impeachable admissions, size up your jury, explore whether a party owns lucrative assets, or even investigate a potential client before agreeing to representation — you need to search public records. But which of the many services offers the best mix of customer service, low prices, and high-quality data?
Tracers in One Sentence
A pioneer founded 23 years ago, Tracers is an online public records research service with a unique pricing model that encourages high usage while simultaneously providing white glove support from trained experts.
The Killer Feature
After logging in, the Tracers dashboard lists all the available search types organized by category — People, Profiles, Assets, Court Records, Businesses, and much more. Lawyers often use the Premium Profile (a.k.a. Comprehensive Report) because it enables you to search for a person’s public records across most of Tracers’ databases.
You initiate a Comprehensive Report search on someone by entering their social security number or in its absence Tracer’s Person ID. Tracers assigns a Person ID to every individual, which you can find using the Premium People search (more on this below).
The Comprehensive Report lists a person’s assets, birth, marriage, and divorce records, arrests, indictments, convictions, and sex offender status, business affiliations, licenses, etc. A navigation panel of record types on the left side enables you to filter the results. Select records of interest and generate a report with your logo and a table of contents (choose from PDF, Word, or Excel format).
Other Notable Features
Tracers offers concierge service to all customers regardless of volume because finding public records sometimes requires experience in the field. You can obtain help via email or telephone (the email help tool includes your search query to provide context).
As noted above, you may first need to find someone using the Premium People search. In addition to social security number and Person ID, this search also lists the person’s address history, cities and counties of residence, mobile and other telephone numbers, and possible relatives. The search results also let you know what type of public records exist for this person with indicators as to whether they’re positive or negative. Using hyperlinks, you can explore records of interest individually or run a Premium Profile search.
Tracers’ Social Media search offers another way to find people not to mention potentially useful admissions. This search lists photos, addresses and street maps, phone numbers, and links to each social media profile. Tracers includes Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter as well as many smaller social media networks.
When you need to know the latest information, Tracers offers realtime public records searches, including visiting courthouses and other government offices for records not yet online.
Tracers contains administrative tools so that you can empower select users at your firm to conduct searches, including restricting which types of public records they can access. Users can enter a client or matter ID for each search for cost recovery purposes. You can download invoices and view the search histories of each user.
What Else Should You Know?
Unlike competing services, Tracers doesn’t charge a per user fee. Tracers offers unlimited plans if you conduct a high volume of searches. Alternatively, Tracers offers a low monthly minimum against which your searches apply. Tracers discloses the price of each search before you commit.
Neil J. Squillante is the founder and publisher of TechnoLawyer, an award-winning network of free email newsletters for lawyers and law office administrators. Many consider TechnoLawyer the only email subscription they need. Previously, Neil practiced commercial litigation at Am Law 100 firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law and his B.A. from Duke University.
Squillante, N. Find People of Interest and All Their Available Public Records
TechnoLawyer Web site.
Published July 25, 2019. Accessed June 1, 2020.