Project: Open Access Law
Access to the legal system in the United States today is shockingly
unequal. One reason
for this disparity is that legal materials -- everything from court
decisions to treatises --
are often locked up in expensive and inconvenient formats. Just
finding out what the law
is can be an arduous process for the general public, especially those
too poor to afford
expensive lawyers and WestLex's astronomical fees. We can fix this.
Our inspiration comes from Wikipedia, the Web, and other "open
generation systems, which have proven time and again the value of
of data, standardized machine-readable formats, and a policy of open
access by anyone
interested. They harness the creative ferment of millions of
volunteers to outperform
supposed "experts." Projects like Cornell's Legal Information
Institute, public.resource,org, and Altlaw have made serious inroads at opening
up the world of
legal materials to the public. We can go further.
Participants on this project are devising and implementing strategies
to rapidly increase the
quality of legal materials available to the public while massively
decreasing the difficulty
of consulting them. They're simultaneously working to move legal
materials en masse
into publicly-accessible, machine-readable, well-structured forms --
and to build upon
those collections to create innovative tools that assist lawyers and
the public to synthesize
those materials into readily comprehensible forms.
IILP Faculty: James Grimmelmann
For More Information: email: firstname.lastname@example.org; (212) 431-2864.