Traveling Through Time in the Wayback Machine (without Mr. Peabody)

The Internet is a dynamic place. While that is a benefit when we want new information quickly, it is a challenge in the legal field when we need a reliable, stable platform on which to build our arguments or conduct research. This backdrop is where the Wayback Machine comes in. The Wayback Machine is a service provided by the Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library dedicated to the preservation of our digital culture, which contains more than 26 years of archived web pages available for our viewing. This resource can serve our profession in two ways: first, as a tool for researching information that has disappeared from the public-facing internet; and second, as a tool for providing a stable link for use in briefs and motions. There are for-profit entities out there that will charge you for a similar service, however the Internet Archive is free, and has a proven track record of stability.

As a Research Tool

The Wayback Machine gives users the ability to go back and see what a particular webpage looked like on a certain day. For instance, here is this blog from April 27, 2012: Or here’s the front page from the New York Times on February 23, 2016:

How can this be useful? Let’s say that part of your theory of defense hinges on Snapchat’s Privacy Policy in place on June 8, 2019, but if you visit Snapchat’s website at the time of this writing, you will see that the current privacy policy was updated in 2022.

To find the policy in effect on June 8, 2019, you can use the Wayback Machine, by going to and searching for

Once you have selected the correct site, the Machine will take you to a timeline and calendar where you can select the capture for the desired date and time. First, click on the correct year on the timeline, in this example, 2019.

Next, select the date and capture time you want from the calendar. A quick note, captures and dates that are blue are better than green, so go for those if possible.

The Wayback Machine will now load as it looked on June 8, 2019, at the time you selected.

From here, you can navigate to the Privacy Policy and view it as it was on June 8, 2019.

To save it, you can either print it, capture it with software like WebPreserver, or link to it via the Wayback Machine. For more information on this last method, see the next section.

Stable Links for Citation

Citation to internet sources in motions or briefs can be a tricky thing. Sure, the Bluebook can tell you the “proper form” for an internet citation, but no amount of spading today guarantees that a link will work tomorrow. Not only can a website change its structure, rendering the link dead, but the site itself could disappear, taking all its data with it. The Wayback Machine can help.

In the exercise above, we located the Privacy Policy for from June 8, 2019. If you needed to incorporate this page into a brief, you could either print or capture it as a PDF and attach it as an exhibit, or you can cite to the Wayback Machine’s version. This type of use is encouraged by the Internet Archive. After you arrived at the Snapchat’s privacy policy, the address bar shows an exact link to this version of this page.

Simply copy and paste the URL from the address bar into the citation in your brief. Now, when the court glowingly quotes your winning argument in a ruling, future lawyers reading it on Westlaw in ten years can click and read the original source material without encountering a dead link.

But what if the information you want is not on the Wayback Machine yet? Perhaps the website hasn’t been recently archived, or worse, has never been archived? You can trigger the Wayback Machine to take a snapshot of a page on demand, which will give you a stable link to the information you want for citation. To trigger a capture, go back to the Wayback Machine homepage ( Instead of entering a query in the search box, enter the URL you would like to preserve in the “Save Page Now” box.

For instance, this blog had not been archived since January. I entered into the “Save Page” box, and told it to save. After a page where I confirmed what I wanted, The Wayback Machine got to work:

Now the Wayback Machine has a current snapshot. To copy the link, right-click on the “Visit Page” link and select “Copy Link Location” or visit the page itself and copy the URL from the address bar.

As a warning, the Wayback Machine will not work with all websites. Some sites use special settings (robots.txt) to prevent automatic capture or crawling by sites by search engines. For example, individual Facebook profiles are not available. A good rule is if you can’t find it with Google, you probably won’t find it on the Wayback Machine.


As I said in the beginning, the Internet is a dynamic place, but we do not have to let it stop us from finding the information we need or cause us to worry about the citations in our legal arguments. The Wayback Machine can be a blissful island of stability in an ever-changing world. Cite with confidence.

Electronic Exhibit Sticker

Preparing exhibits for trial or court hearings, though not glamorous, is an essential task in the practice of courtroom litigation. Depending on the volume and type of exhibits, this necessary task can quickly turn tedious if you must print each exhibit, affix a physical sticker, fill out the exhibit and case information by hand, then scan and submit the stickered exhibit. In the heat of trial where last minute changes take place frequently, it is easy to make mistakes. However, with the right type of technology, such as Adobe Acrobat Pro (or Standard), this process can be done more smoothly, help reduce opportunities for making errors, and done more quickly than the old school method of stickers and paper  If you have Adobe Acrobat*, we suggest considering using digital (electronic) exhibit stickers for your next case.

*Acrobat Standard or Pro, not the free “Reader” version.

This post will walk you through how you can create digital exhibits on your own, including the process of installing a sticker that takes the form of a custom Acrobat stamp. The stamp will allow you to quickly fill in the exhibit and case numbers for your case, and will automatically remember your previous entries the next time you use it.

First, follow the instructions below to install the electronic exhibit sticker.


  1. Download and copy the exhibit_stickers.pdf file to a location that is easily accessible, such as your Desktop. (NOTE: You can delete this PDF file once we are finished with the installation.)
  1. Open Acrobat and press CTRL-K to open the Preferences menu. Scroll down on the left to “Security (Enhanced)”. Click the “Add File” button, which will open a file explorer window.
  1. Type %appdata% into the address bar and press enter.
  1. This will open a new folder.  Open the “Adobe” folder, then the “Acrobat” folder. You may see folders for the different versions that have been installed like a “2017”, “2020” or a “DC” folder. Open the “DC” folder if you have that, or else the highest folder year you have. Open the “Stamps” folder. Find the “exhibit_stamps.pdf” file you saved and drag or copy and paste it into the Stamps folder. Select the file and click “Open.”
  1. This will take you back to the Preferences screen. Verify that exhibit_stamps.pdf is listed inside the box. If the file is there, click “OK”. Then close out of all Acrobat windows.


  1. Open the PDF that needs an exhibit sticker. Select the “Comment” tool from the list along the right side of the screen.
  1. This will open a new toolbar. Click on the Stamp tool icon, navigate to the “Exhibit Sticker” menu, then click on the Exhibit sticker image.
  1. The first time you use the sticker, it will pop up this window. Check “Don’t show again” and click “Complete.” There is no need to enter any information.
  1. Your cursor will now become a floating exhibit sticker. Click where you would like to place the sticker. Do not worry if the initial placement is not perfect; you can move the sticker to a different part of the page and even resize the sticker after you have placed it.
  1. When you click to place the stamp, a window will pop up asking you to enter an Exhibit Number. Enter the Exhibit number in the box and press OK.
  1. Next, a window will pop up asking you for a Case number. Enter the Case number and press OK.
  1. This will place an exhibit sticker on your PDF that contains the Exhibit Number and Case Number. You can move and resize the sticker if needed. If you need remove or change any of the information on the sticker, you can right click on the sticker, select “Delete” and create a new sticker.
  1. To permanently affix the sticker to the document, you will need to print the document to a new PDF. Go to the File menu and select Print. Now change your printer to “Adobe PDF”, change the “Comments & Forms” selection to “Document and Stamps”, then press print and save your new copy to the location of your choosing.
  1. That’s it. You will now have a permanently stamped PDF document. The next time you want to stamp a document, Acrobat will pre-fill your last enter Exhibit Number and Case Number, so it will be easier to keep track of your exhibits if you are marking multiple documents in one sitting, and you will not have to re-enter the case number each time.

If you need any assistance with installation, you can contact me at