It’s a big day for LawBox, and for the whole open legal movement. We’re thrilled to announce that after months of hard work, the Free Law Project is today making available more than 1.5 million court opinions donated by LawBox, as part of its open-source, open-data CourtListener platform. This is one of the largest public releases ever made of United States case law, comprising many millions of pages from state and federal courts that have never before been freely available. Along with this new depth to its corpus, the Free Law Project is introducing significant new citation, jurisdiction and search tools to open access to the law as never before.
Starting this fall, LawBox users will see major enhancements to our platform as we start to roll out new features powered by the Free Law Project’s research tools. We’ll be posting more about these as they come, but as of today, the data behind them is available to everyone. Proprietary access to public data has always been a great roadblock to developing research tools, and we look forward to a world in which research providers are judged not on the scope of their libraries, but on the usefulness of the tools that bring those libraries to life.
Over the next few days, the Free Law Project blog will be posting descriptions of their work in more depth. Since not only the data but the code behind it is entirely public, legal geeks are welcome to check out some of the great work they’ve done under the hood, like porting the entire Blue Book citation system to Python.
We couldn’t be more supportive of the Free Law Project’s mission to provide free, public and permanent access to primary legal materials, and we’re proud to be along for the ride.