Thomas R. Bruce is co-founder and director of the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School, the first legal-information web site in the world. He wrote Cello, the first Web browser for the Microsoft Windows platform. He has been the principal technical architect for online legal resources ranging from fourteenth-century law texts, to an alternative first-year law curriculum written by seven members of the Harvard Law School faculty, to the current decisions of the United States Supreme Court. He has been deeply involved in the national law.gov effort, with a particular interest in technical and metadata standards that will make collections of legal information not only transparent but interoperable.
Mr. Bruce has consulted on Internet matters for numerous commercial and public organizations on four continents, including projects in Sweden, South Africa, Japan, Spain, Italy, Vietnam, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and Australia. He has been a fellow of the Center for Online Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts, and a Senior International Fellow at the University of Melbourne Law School. He and the LII team have been engaged by the Library of Congress to re-think their metadata models for legislation, and are closely collaborating with the US Government Printing Office on a new version of the Code of Federal Regulations.
He is an affiliated researcher in Cornell’s program in Information Science, where he works closely with faculty and students who experiment with the application of natural-language processing techniques to legal texts. He has been member of the American Bar Association Administrative Law Section Special Committee on e-Rulemaking, and is a longtime member of the board of directors of the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction. He was the founding editor of VoxPopuLII, a guest-blogging publication that serves as a cross-disciplinary meeting place for researchers in the various fields that touch on legal informatics. In 2009, the ABA Journal named him a “Legal Rebel”, one of 50 innovators doing the most to remake the legal profession in the United States.
Bruce is a graduate of Yale College, and received the Bert Gruver Prize in Stage Management from the Yale School of Drama. In an earlier life, he was a stage- and production manager for opera companies in (among other places) Houston, Chicago, Miami, Columbus, and Omaha; for the American Repertory Theater, the New World Festival of the Arts, and Spoleto Festival USA; for Eastern Airlines and IBM trade shows; and for an array of rock and jazz bands that would now be considered quaint at best. His work was once hailed as “an act of artistic vandalism” by Opera News. He spends his free time buying and selling antique tools, and occasionally makes something out of wood.