Unlocking the Power of Automation in Court Research Data

Accurate and timely court research is a critical component of any wholesale data solution for CRAs in the background screening industry. A pre-hire background check requires multiple steps – including a Social Security number trace, address history trace, a national criminal file (“nat-crim”) search, and validation  of the candidate’s personally identifiable information (PII). This produces pointers to where official court research and record validation at the county level should be conducted.

This court record search can span multiple counties and courts based on where the applicant has lived, and any historical public criminal records found in the nat-crim file. Research is performed across disparate county court systems, and records must be confirmed and matched to the PII provided and subsequently adjudicated to determine if any records are reportable based on complex FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) regulations.

Court data can be accessed in several different ways: public online court systems, going on site and contacting the court directly for case documents, or some combination of online and on-site research. Humans manually searching records online is time consuming and prone to errors. “Court runners” going on site to use public access terminals or requesting case copies is costly and even more cumbersome. This often lengthy and expensive process can be significantly streamlined through smart automated processes.

How Automation Improves Turnaround Times and Quality of Court Records

AdobeStock_158218243Robotic Processing Automation (RPA) technology, or software robotics, is a benefit for the background screening industry because it automates the time-consuming processes of data collection, filtering, cleansing, matching, adjudication, and result transmission.

The court research process involves three distinct phases: gathering the most accurate and up-to-date court data, cleansing/filtering the data, and performing records validation. All stages of this process can be significantly improved by RPA technology. Through automation, data is collected in real-time directly from the official online court source at the time of the order – a key step in improving quality and reducing turnaround time. Humans simply cannot do this as quickly, affordably, and accurately as RPA technology.

Once the data is gathered, it must be cleansed and filtered – a process usually done by humans reviewing the data themselves to remove noise (non-reportable records), match records to the applicant based on PII, and validate accuracy. RPA can cleanse, filter, and match records to specific rules provided. It also eliminates the need for manual review and input of information and automates human keystrokes in the workflow as data is gathered, validated, and moved through the process. This further improves turnaround time and quality of the record passed onto the CRA.

Maximize Profits and Efficiencies in Court Research

Automation can make a significant impact on the bottom line, reducing turnaround time and unnecessary costs while providing an even higher degree of confidence in the accuracy of the information. The way it is executed can vary significantly depending on client needs, providing a flexible and customized system for accessing the best possible data.

Thanks to automation, CRAs can also choose to receive court data through a custom filter and specify the way they want the data to be processed. A traditional court runner will often return a result that is limited in scope. Legacy “scraper tools” typically return more records than needed and require clean up by human staff. RPA and more sophisticated robotics, on the other hand, can filter results intelligently based on a wide variety of charge types to reduce noise, avoid mistakes, and save adjudication time.

Automation is driving more accurate, efficient, and cost-effective operations, thanks to real-time data pulled straight from the authorized court source. These results can also be custom filtered so CRAs get exactly the results they want. Custom filtering cuts down significantly on the amount of work the CRA or client must do. These configurable search parameters can also remove any non-reportable information – a key factor for FCRA-compliant customers.

Brittany Adams, Partner Success Manager


Brittany Adams, Partner Success Manager

Brittany Adams has more than a decade of experience working in the background screening industry, including data acquisition technology provider RapidCourt. As a partner success manager at Appriss, she works closely with CRAs that leverage Appriss’ data solutions to bolster their product offerings. She brings deep industry experience and a unique perspective to the Appriss team. In addition to her role at Appriss, Brittany leads Wellcome Home Kids, a charity she founded to serve families with recovering organ transplant children. Brittany lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two kids.

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