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The Constitution Annotated, popularly known as CONAN, has been published by the Congressional Research Service since 1913 and provides analysis of the Supreme Court cases interpreting the Constitution. CONAN is highly regarded as a non-partisan publication that helps readers appreciate how Americans’ understanding of our governing principles has changed throughout our history on timely issues such as the scope of presidential power, limits on free speech, or the right to bear arms.

For many years, the LII published CONAN on our website and regularly updated it each time the Government Publishing Office (GPO) released a new version. But then GPO stopped making the underlying code publicly available, choosing instead to release only a print version and an unwieldy 2800 page PDF online. Without the software “roadmap” that facilitates not only re-publication but also the sort of feature-rich improvements that distinguish our collections, our online CONAN fell out of date. But, in 2018, with help from open government advocates Josh Tauberer of GovTrack and Daniel Schuman of Demand Progress, the LII re-created that XML software map, put it on the web and then used it to improve upon the government’s online version. In addition to being fully up-to-date, LII’s CONAN is easy to find online, to navigate and to search. It’s also accessible to people with disabilities; and, it links directly to close to 9000 Supreme Court cases on our site. Subsequent versions will use Semantic Web technologies to assist interconnection and data integration with other online resources.

“We have created an enhanced version that will not only be better in and of itself, but also act as a resource for improving other parts of our collections, notably our set of Supreme Court cases,” explained LII Director Tom Bruce. “For example, we can make use of citations in footnotes to establish relatedness between cases, allowing us to show which of the cases that are related to a particular case by citation are actually the most related with respect to a particular topic. We think it is going to be quite something.”

SCOTUSBlog and Roll Call wrote about our new resource, and The American Association of Law Libraries spread the word in their newsletter. Looking at our traffic stats, we can tell it’s been very popular among educators, from high schools across the country to Duke University and the U.S. Naval Academy. It’s also been used by journalists covering current events and linked to in articles by the Washington Post and the Atlantic among others. Most recently, CNN included a link to Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 that explains the power that Congress has in deciding how money should be appropriated from the Treasury for government projects in an article covering the national state of emergency declared by the President in order to build a wall on the southern border.

Since we made it available to the public this Constitution Day (September 17, 2018) CONAN has now been viewed more than 570,000 times!

We set out to refurbish this resource without being quite certain of the audience because we knew there WAS an audience and thought someone ought to do it form. CONAN is an invaluable document that helps us understand how our interpretation of the Constitution has evolved over the years. Now, a few months in, we are glad to see how quickly it’s been adopted and grown in popularity. And we’d like to say thank you – without your support, this would not be possible! The Library of Congress refers to the Constitution Annotated as “one of our most important resources in answering questions about the Constitution and its history.”, and we look forward to making it even easier to find and understand.

You can find the Constitution Annotated here.


Just a quick note to say thanks to all of you who made contributions to the LII during our end-of-year fundraising campaign. Your gifts make it possible for millions of people around the world to find and understand the law. You should be proud.

How proud should you be? Good question. We know that your contributions help many, many people in ways that you may not expect. Some of the impact is direct:

I have relied on your website for reliable, quality information for years as a policy researcher for the White House and the NC Lieutenant Governor and Senate, as well as many clients, both nonprofit and governmental. Keep up the great work.

Thank you for providing access to education law, so parents can find & understand the regulations that apply to ed. assessment and placement. We are the parents of a child in the 10th grade. Although we’ve provided multiple, full IEEs at our own expense, our schools refuse to acknowledge any disability. Our son’s poor, basic literacy skills place growing limitations on his current & future access to education. We can’t afford private intervention.

As a retired federal prosecutor who helped put dozens of people in prison and now as a member of the public without a law office, I strongly support free, universal access to the law as the best way to create respect for it. This is the 21st century equivalent of the musty law libraries in thousand of county courthouses across the land.

Some is indirect. A lot of people in our audience make use of what they find here to help others:

Access to your resource helped me to assist a victim of crime in an application for a US visa. My client is a father who, I am arguing, suffered “direct and proximate harm” from his son’s murder. I used your resource to help explain my request for support to a local law enforcement agency.

Your info has helped me win many VA claims for my clients as well as give great info to pro se Veterans. Thank you!

As a solo practitioner, your website has given me the opportunity to conduct legal research on a wide range of topics, without the expense to the client.

This year, we’re especially grateful to you because so many of you pitched in. It was easily the most successful fundraising campaign in our history. Over 4,000 of you helped out, contributing far more than in any prior campaign. More, we’re excited by your endorsement of our work. We meet very few of you in person — but your contributions and your comments remind us of the importance of what we are doing together.

There is one more thing you could do for us. We learn a lot about the impact of our work from the comments that supporters leave when they make online donations. We need to learn more, and so we’ve come up with a survey for donors and non-donors alike. If you could do us a favor and take a few minutes to fill it out, it would be extremely helpful.

Start the survey…

Again, thank you, from all of us. Your generosity means a lot.


And now, at the end of a busy year,  we know.  And you should know how much good you do.  They’ve come to us from all corners of the country, all corners of the globe, really.  From all points along the political spectrum.  Knowing a lot about law or trying to remember that civics class they took in high school. Every last one of the 35 million of them wanting to read the law for themselves.  Every one able to do that without having to pay for that basic right because you helped make it available.

We’ve heard from high school teachers in Texas and a real estate professional in Florida and an Army Inspector General.  From public defenders and Federal prosecutors.  From tax lawyers and helicopter charter pilots and soldiers and sailors and plenty of people who identified themselves as “ordinary citizens”.  Every one needing to find and understand the rules that govern them.

Here at the LII we always knew that it is that way.  People need to be able to find the law for themselves, to read it and understand it, without having to pay for that,  so that they can understand what is happening around them.  We always knew that.  We just couldn’t really prove it to you until now.  So many, with so many needs, have come here.

Not that we needed a lot of proof.  You believed too — you thought there should be a service that made the law available without fee, to anyone who wants it, whenever they want it.  You generously gave us your support and you made it happen just as much as we did.

Because of you, this year’s fundraising campaign has been remarkably successful.  We are running 25% ahead of where we were last year at this time, and well ahead of our ambitious goal.  Thank you, all of you, for everything you’ve done.  And if you haven’t given, but would like to, just follow this link.

Before I go, I’d just like to direct your attention to something we mention elsewhere in this newsletter.  Over the year, we’ve directed your attention to our series of 25th-anniversary blog posts. I think you’ll find them interesting and I recommend them to you.  And, if you’re interested in the LII’s future, you’ll find it expressed in two blog posts by my colleagues Sara Frug and Craig Newton.  Please do read them.

In the meantime, my best wishes, and best wishes from all here, for a happy holiday and a prosperous New Year.

Like Kleenex, Xerox, or Velcro, “Legal Information Institute” is a generic term for organizations that offer free and open access to primary legal materials, worldwide. More than 20 years ago, a group in Canada asked us if they might use “LII” in their name — they became “CanLII”, quickly followed by “AustLII” and a raft of others.  There are now at least 20 LII namesakes worldwide.  Along with other like-minded organizations, they have created a mostly-informal, globe-spanning  alliance that calls itself the “Free Access to Law Movement’.  Over the years, we have provided advice and support to many of its members, creating global goodwill and impact from the contributions of our supporters.

Each year, the organization holds a conference called “Law Via the Internet” (LVI).  LVI2017 was held last week at the Rutgers-Newark School of Law. It was, to say the least, an eclectic event.  There were presentations on everything from a standard system of identifiers for courts worldwide to bias in search-engine algorithms to information services for the Kenyan judicial system.  Keynote speakers were longtime LII friend Ed Walters, CEO of FastCase, and Corynne McSherry, the legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The LII was a strong presence.  Sara Frug, the LII’s Associate Director for Technology, Sylvia Kwakye, and Nic Ceynowa described their work on Docket Wrench.  Docket Wrench, originally developed by the Sunlight Foundation, is a regulatory monitoring system that we are extending and improving with the help of students from Cornell’s Masters of Engineering in Computer Science Program.  Craig Newton, the LII’s Associate Director for Content,  talked about what we’ve learned from the strong surge in usage of our site by people checking up on statements made by government officials.  And Peter Martin, the LII’s co-founder and co-director emeritus, presented work on the realities of availability of Federal caselaw.

The real value of conferences is in informal discussions, and there were many.  We get at least as much help as we give. For example, anyone who has ever had to build a legal information system from scratch by scanning moldy legal documents has a lot to teach us. And our audience has a great deal to gain from alliances between the LII and other partners who create large caselaw collections.  All in all, it was a worthwhile and gratifying experience for us. The work being done here and elsewhere is having profound effects throughout the world, and it is nice to be reminded of that.  It all started here, and it continues because of the generosity of people like you and the ingenuity and forward-thinking of many like us around the world.

PS:  We were delighted to see a number of you at our cybersecurity panel event in New York just before LVI.  We’re doing another in Washington, DC on the 9th of November, and would be delighted if you could join us (don’t be scared if it looks like it’s an event for Cornell alumni — we told them they could come if they agreed to behave themselves).

At LII we think a lot about the relationship between the law and the general public. This year at the Law Via the Internet Conference, LII staff gave presentations that each, in their own way, were about how members of the public interact with the law.

Craig Newton gave a presentation entitled “When Law Goes Viral: The Implications of Social Media for Online Law Publishers.” He showed data from more than 28 million user sessions on the LII web site from January through June of 2017, exploring the specific characteristics of social media-driven traffic – particularly the smaller amount of time people referred by social media spend on the page they’ve been referred to and the smaller number of pages they tend to visit.

Sara Frug, Sylvia Kwakye, and Nic Ceynowa presented the engineering team’s progress reviving the Docket Wrench application, which makes it easier to review electronic rulemaking comments. The recent concern over fake comments on net neutrality submitted in bulk to the FCC has renewed interest in public participation in the notice-and-comment rulemaking process. The Docket Wrench application will help people involved in regulatory work find comments from repeat corporate participants and see how members of the public are weighing in.

Whether we’re looking at public participation in the development of future regulations or public self-education about what the law really says, LII has a unique set of opportunities to see what people care about and help provide them with more context for what they are reading. In other words, we help *people* find and understand the law.

In our last newsletter, we invited you to some events we were hosting around the country in recognition of our 25th anniversary.   We were in the heart of Silicon Valley in late September, and the middle of Manhattan just last week.   For those of you who couldn’t make it (and, with more than 40 million visitors expected to the site in 2017, we’ll say that was “most of you”), we wanted to provide a quick recap, as well as some public thank yous.

At Morrison & Foerster on September 26, Friend of the LII and Adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell Law School Steve Yale-Loehr led a panel discussion on how recent and expected future changes in US immigration policy might impact the tech sector.   One highlight of the evening was when a software developer in the audience stood up and shared his own immigration story from more than twenty years ago.

Last week at Dechert LLP in midtown Manhattan, LII Bulletin alumna Micaela McMurrough moderated a panel on cybersecurity in an era of deregulation.  Not only was the panel equal parts informative and entertaining, the views of some of Manhattan’s most recognizable landmarks from Dechert’s 28th-floor conference room were something our contingency from Ithaca won’t soon forget.

Why host an immigration law panel in Palo Alto and a cybersecurity panel in New York City to celebrate 25 years of rescuing public legal information from for-profit publishers and government file cabinets?   Why not have a lovely dinner party instead?   There are several reasons, and we’ll focus on just a few here.

First, our 25th anniversary marks an occasion for some introspection–to see how much we’ve grown up from the days of Tom Bruce, Peter Martin, and some servers in a utility closet.   Of the many, many things that have surprised us about our subsequent success, one of the more powerful is our capability as a convenor.   We’ve had good luck (and even better results) building bridges over daunting chasms such as those that often exist between, for example, government and the private sector, technologists and lawyers, or academics and, well, everyone!   Calling up our friends and putting together diverse panels speaking on important topics with broad appeal across all of those areas is its own kind of celebration of the status we now enjoy.

Second, we have always been and always hope to be a public-facing information service.  A big part of that is building a creative space where some of the best and most dedicated minds in legal informatics can experiment with new ways to process, format and present useful information to the world.   The website you know and support is as much a byproduct of that work as it is the product of that work.  But bringing people important information in new and better ways is our passion.  Panel events on topics in the headlines are very much in that tradition.

Finally, the best reason for these events is you.   We sit quite literally in a tower in a law school on a campus in the “centrally isolated” community of Ithaca, New York.  There are millions and millions and millions of you whom we serve but will never meet.   While events like these will never come close to helping us reach out and connect with everyone, everywhere, it does help us connect with a tiny cross-section of our audience.  Whenever we come down out of that literal tower and leave central New York to meet with users of our website, we always walk away with valuable feedback and invaluable inspiration.   

If you’re in the DC area on November 9th, please come join us for our next event. 

In March of 2015 Alfred Mahlangu, of AfricanLII, stayed with us for a month to create LII in a Box. He was “here to get ideas”, and he felt it was a great opportunity to work with the LII team as a whole. We wrote about Alfred’s visit here, but it’s been awhile, so thought we would reach out and see how it’s been going and what else he might be working on.

Tell us about what brought you to the LII originally

The aim of the trip was to learn about how things are handled technically and have more direct interaction with the technical team at LII given that LII has been around for sometime and were best suited to offer advise on how to go about technical side of things and the experience has been very valuable for me to date.

Can you remind us what LII in a Box is?

LII in a Box is a Drupal packaged distribution that powers up standards-based free and open access legal information websites

What was the hardest part of getting LII in a box off the ground? Is that still a challenge?

Since I was new to Drupal for me it was learning about Drupal standards on how to structure modules but it got better with time.

What was the hardest court or country? – what were its challenges?

We tested with Afghanistan and translation into the Arabic was a bit of a challenge

Did anything surprise you in the way it’s being used (or anything else surprising or interesting)?

Not really

How many are using it now?

We have about 13 websites that are using it

What modifications have you made from the prototype as it’s evolved?

The big modification made was of including enabling legislation to be directly consumed from a platform called Indigo and be presented on the LII-in-a-box site as well as the use of ApacheSOLR as a search engine to give users more alternatives in terms of how they want to filter the search results.

Tell us about the work you do

You work for AfricanLII – what is your job with them?

I am the IT Coordinator for AfricanLII and my main duties include Software Development and System Administration, Project Management and Leadership

What should we know about South Africa and it’s Free Law movement?

Free Access to Law movement is good for a country like South Africa as it ensures accountability and access to justice for ordinary citizens.

What is AfricanLII’s future look like, goals, challenges, successes)?

AfricanLII’s main goal is to promote Free Access to Law and Open Justice in Africa.

Are you working on any new projects?

We have Pocket Law project that enables users who have internet connectivity challeges to  still be able to access legal information as well as mobile apps

Tell us about yourself

We see you also work with South African National Parks, what are the challenges of improving the awareness and reputation of SANParks?

South African National Parks is an organization I worked for prior to joining AfricanLII

What are your favorite parks or sites – what should we see if we visit?

My favourite park is Kruger National Park, seeing the big 5 animals

What do you like to do in your free time?

I read books on Economics,Philosophy and Politics

I keep seeing pictures of you in headphones spinning records – what’s that all about? What types of music do you play?

🙂 every now and then I get invited to be a DJ at functions and that’s why the earphones, with regards to the music type, I would say anything that has Good Tone, Rhythm and Vibration.

Are you ever coming back to Ithaca (or the states)?

In the near future yes

Last month, Attorney General Sessions described civil forfeiture as “a key tool that helps law enforcement defund organized crime, take back ill-gotten gains, and prevent new crimes from being committed.”  Politicians and media outlets on both sides of the aisle were skeptical about his decision to curb some fairly recent federal restrictions on the practice.  But what, exactly, is civil forfeiture and how did the practice come about?  A new wex article by Cornell Law student Stephanie Jurkowski answers those questions and more.  Read it here:

If you’re asking yourself why the last name Gameros sounds familiar it might be because you’re thinking of Bill Gameros. Bill was featured in last month’s Alumni Profile for his work with the LII Bulletin. The West Point grad and former Army Officer was the first editor in chief of the Supreme Court Bulletin.  Fortuitously, his successor was Kathryn Becker; an art enthusiast with a passion for helping others who today goes by Kathryn Gameros. The two met while attending Cornell and later married. Kathy served as an editor on the first ever editorial board and became the first female editor-in-chief the following year. For the sake of curiosity we couldn’t interview one without the other, so we talked with Kathy about the Bulletin and how she utilizes her career to make a difference.

You attended the Harley School in Rochester, NY?

I grew up in Fairport, NY and graduated from the Harley School.

After attending the Harley School, you went to college to study Fine Arts?

I went to Middlebury College and received a degree in Studio Art and Women’s Studies.

So how did you transition to Law School?

While I was in undergrad, I decided that I wanted to try and make a difference. I thought that law made the most sense with the background I had with women’s studies. I didn’t exactly what I was going to do, I was lucky to attend a liberal arts school and I also changed my major a few times as an undergrad.

What made you choose Cornell?

I visited law schools on the West Coast and also on the East Coast before I fell in love with Cornell. I may have to admit it could’ve been something to do with visiting on negligence weekend and I have always loved upstate NY. I liked the size of the school and I thought it was a good fit given I was coming from a small undergraduate institution.

What is negligence weekend and what about it specifically played a role in you choosing Cornell?

When I was visiting campus and later when I attended Cornell Law School, one spring weekend was designated Negligence Weekend. Many law students took time away from studying to lounge, play games & even enjoy a beer outside. The weekend that I visited campus, the weather was absolutely lovely. It was a warm sunny respite after a long winter in Middlebury, Vermont. All the law students that I met were friendly and seemed so relaxed. Obviously, not every weekend in law school was like that. There were notes to write and edit, classes to prepare for, moot court and other time pressures. Negligence weekend provided a counterpoint to those busy weekends.  

You were an editor with Bill, and then the following year became Editor in Chief. Did you make any changes or notice any changes that you wanted to make the second year around?

At that point I think we had worked together pretty well as a team. All of us on the journal collaborated to establish the format for the bulletin. We were still focused on the Court of Appeals in New York and I had taken over doing the HTML preparation of the Opinions as they came down and then we would make a selection. We worked on our selection criteria for which cases we were writing about. We did not analyze every single case that came out during those years. We continued to evolve but we did not make any wholesale changes that second year.

Based on wanting to make a difference, did that influence your career path after Cornell?

I ended up taking a more traditional career path after I graduating. I worked at three law firms since 1997. In 2013, my partner and I opened our own law firm. Over the course of my career , I was able to use my legal education on pro bono matters as well as serving on a number of nonprofit boards. When my partner and I left Jones Day, we were able to represent students and their families in the area of education law. Special education law is a growing portion of our practice. The majority of my practice  remains product liability defense. It took a while to get there but I am committed to taking on social issues as a lawyer.

Do you use the LII during your work day?

I do! Not every day but I tend to use it when I want to see Supreme Court opinions. I looked at the write up on the Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District decision. That actually fits right into the area of Special Education Law that we’ve been working on.

Could you elaborate on some of the nonprofit boards that you serve on? I know that you were involved with the Leadership Arts Institute and also the Texas Discovery Gardens.

Leadership Arts Dallas was a training program that I was invited to participate in because I was a lawyer. The purpose of that group is to prepare professionals to get involved with nonprofit boards of directors. As a result of Leadership Arts, I was placed on the board of the Texas Discovery Gardens where I currently serve as the Parliamentarian. Texas Discovery Gardens is an organic garden with educational programs for both children and adults. It’s in the heart of Dallas and uses sustainable practices including native plants and Hasan indoor insectarium which is commonly referred to as the butterfly house. The Discovery Gardens also does work in the community. For example, when Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings joined a group of other Mayors across the country in creating “way stops” for migrating monarch butterflies, he partnered with the Texas Discovery Gardens to create the Mayor’s butterfly garden outside Dallas City Hall.

It has been a great organization for seeing what’s going on in Dallas including people’s changing ideas about using public spaces in Dallas in a way that is “water wise.” And I’ve learned about monarchs and other species that are endangered or becoming endangered. Last year, I served as the Chair of PC TAG which is a non-profit that works with the school district that my children attend.  

I hear you have 3 daughters, how old?

Yes we have 3 girls. They are 13, 11, and 8.

Will any of them plan on attending Cornell or going into law?

You know they’re not sure right now. Actually they’re all involved with acting so maybe we’ll be using those Tom Bruce connections. Over the years, we have run into people that know Tom all over. Last summer it was at the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts. Apparently Tom had done some theater in Boston related to Edward Gorey and we ran into people that told us that they knew Tom for his work. My girls got a kick out of it.

Kathy has been successfully managing her own firm, Atwood Gameros LLP, since 2013. In addition, Bill has been at Hoge & Gameros LLP since 2002. Bill and Kathy reside in Dallas where they moved post graduation. Together they live with their three daughters, 2 gerbils and dog.



If you done it, it ain’t bragging
— Walt Whitman

First of all, thank you to everyone who donated during our June campaign. It was extremely successful — we met our goal and then some — and all of us here are more grateful to you than I can say.  With your help, we done it.  Without your help, we couldn’t.

Because I think you should know what your money is buying — and because I am both lazy and immodest — I’m sending along something originally written as an internal report for our parent institution.  I hope that you’ll find it relevant — and a source of some pride.  A good many of you have supported us for as long as we have been asking for support, and all of you can be proud of the scale and diversity of what you’ve made possible. It is, if I may say so, a very long and impressive list.

Here’s the report:

This year is the LII’s 25th year of operation — which, in Internet years, makes us older than Cornell University.   With that in mind, this report is in a once-and-once-only format. It is a quadranscentennial, shameless display of  immodesty, nevertheless lacking glossy paper and eye candy (and yeah, I had to look “quadranscentennial” up).

First, though, the annual barrage of statistics.  We now publish around half a million pages of information.  Over the last year, we’ve been visited by 34,701,568 people from 241 countries and territories, including a few visits from the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, a part of Russia (no votes were altered).   88% of our visitors were from the US. To put it another way, our materials were used by roughly 9% of all men, women, and children in the United States.  Since January, traffic to the site has risen by 20-25%, driven by increased public desire to read the actual text of laws related to immigration, membership on the National Security Council, the Constitution, and a wide variety of Federal criminal statutes. Many — from all points on the political spectrum — have told us that they are glad to have a source that is objective, trusted, and free.

But the LII is far more than numbers.  It makes about as much sense to try to understand our activities through traffic statistics and financial results as it would to try to understand the full range of what the Law School does by counting its graduates.  

Over the past quarter-century, the LII has helped millions upon millions of people understand and solve problems they encounter in their personal and professional lives, and helped lawyers — particularly those who work in pro bono or legal-services settings — to assist tens of millions of clients.   We are a critical resource for lawyers and other officials at all levels of government. We have spawned imitators and namesakes in at least 20 countries. A good many are the official publishers of law in those jurisdictions.  Arguably, we have had the greatest public impact of any program in the history of the Cornell Law School, carrying the name of the School and its parent institution to hundreds of millions of people, and returning unprecedented and unique value and goodwill to the School and the University.  

Each day,  the LII is visited by somewhere between 5 and 7 times the number of people who have attended the Law School in its entire history.  We have profoundly affected the work of American lawyers, both directly and through a stream of innovations and open-access law sites created by others who followed our lead or built on resources we have published. We have advised and assisted many of those others. The LII’s founders and its technical leaders have been recognized by the American Bar Association, the American Association of Law Libraries, and most commercial legal information providers as pioneering innovators in the field of legal informatics and in the legal profession as a whole. The Dean has remarked that, “if the LII were a faculty member, it would be the most frequently quoted faculty member at the Cornell Law School”. So far this calendar year, entries from our WEX legal encyclopedia have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, the Allentown Morning Call, the Picayune Item, and the Cherokee Nation One Feather, among many, many other publications, online and off. A reporter for ProPublica, formerly with the New York Times and the Washington Post, has referred to us as “a foundational part of our civic infrastructure”.   Another, the winner of a Pulitzer Prize (plus two additional Pulitzer nominations), a Polk Award, and an IRE Medal, is a regular donor.

The LII was the first legal-information site on the Web, the first web site at Cornell, and somewhere around the 30th web site in the world (by one estimate, there are now 1.2 billion). We were the first to offer for-credit, multi-institutional distance learning courses in law.  We developed the first web browser for the Microsoft Windows platform.  The LII was the first to offer the United States Code and the US Constitution on the web, and the first to offer the opinions of the Supreme Court, 8 years before the Court began developing its web site.  

For a time, in the early years, we published an online magazine for the National Association of Securities Dealers.  We have collaborated on joint projects with numerous institutions in the US and abroad, including the Government Publishing Office, the House of Representatives, and operations like our own in Spain, Italy, Japan, South Africa, and Sweden among others.  We have consulted for the World Bank, the Open Society Institute, the Swedish International Development Agency, the UK National Archives, the United Nations, the Library of Congress, the FDA, the DOT, MITRE Corporation, and all of the major commercial legal publishers.  We were consultants for the Harvard Law School Library for nearly a decade.

We served on American Bar Association committees concerned with public participation in Federal agency rulemaking, and with the accreditation standards related to distance learning.  We have testified on legal information policy issues before two Congressional committees, and spoken to groups at the United Nations, the Global Forum on Law and Development, and the Interparliamentary Union, each on multiple occasions.  We have worked with the European Commission and the Hague Conference on Private International Law on the problem of obtaining authoritative legal information across national boundaries. We have given dozens of presentations at AALS, AALL, and CALI.  For five years, our version of the tax code was published on CD-ROM by the IRS for use in its own outreach programs.  We were, for a few years, the de facto editors of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.

We have often served as a matchmaker and convenor.  Academics who study or otherwise work with government have benefitted from the unusual cooperation that is available to Cornell researchers because officials throughout government are well aware of the services the LII provides.  We have introduced law faculty to collaborators from the computer-science world, as when we introduced Bob Hillman to a Cornell expert on software development as part of his work on software contracts and the UCC.   Our guest blog, VoxPopuLII, has become a place where practitioners in all of the disciplines that touch on legal informatics — law librarianship, information science, and design, among others — can find accessible reports of the latest work that touches their areas of interest.  We have attracted postdoctoral students from Serbia, Finland, Brazil, and Spain. We hosted residencies for online democracy activists working in the Middle East, South America, Africa, and the Ukraine, and for an African software engineer building a plug-and-play system now used to publish legal information in 10 African countries.  We held the second largest conference in the history of the School, with the largest international attendance of any.  LII principals serve on editorial boards and program committees for any number of international conferences and publications in the area of legal informatics, law and AI, and legal publishing technology.

We have created tremendous goodwill in unexpected places and in unexpected ways. Our donors include a former president of the World Bank, and the procurement manager for a food bank;  a former Solicitor General of the United States, and a guy who prototypes machine parts for a living; at least 7 Federal judges, and a woman who runs a project that works for prisoner’s rights at the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. Our acquisition of the OYEZ collection of Supreme Court opinions brought recognition from an unexpected direction (and one near to my heart):  program credits and lobby notices at the Berkeley Rep, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the Washington Arena Stage performances of “Roe”, a play about the Supreme Court.

We have done all of that with a staff whose effective size has never exceeded eight, and which for the first fifteen years of the LII’s history was substantially smaller.   

We have great things in the works for the coming year. As most of you know, through the generosity of its founder, we acquired the Oyez collection of Supreme Court oral arguments last fall; we are now  building out the Oyez materials in ways that connect to our other collections.  We are much of the way through renovating — and hugely improving — a regulatory-agency monitoring program called Docket Wrench. Originally created by the Sunlight Foundation, but deprecated and then put up for adoption, it will provide remarkable insights into notice-and-comment rulemaking activity, using over 3 terabytes of data.  In another line of investigation, we want to extend our work on using natural-language processing to identify and link statutory and regulatory definitions in ways that make use of definitions from authorizing statutes easier to follow, and allow the assembly of a “CFR dictionary” that invites comparison of definitions across different areas.  Last summer, we also adopted the former Avon Center’s Women & Justice collection, which we’ve been expanding with additional content and will be re-launching on our domain shortly under the name “And Justice For All.”  

We’re looking forward to another 25 years that will be as successful as the first 25.   As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

All the best,

Tom, Sara, Craig, Nic, Sylvia, Kimball, Val, Charlotte, Taylor, and Pete.

PS:  We’re in the middle of our June fundraising campaign.  At the risk of looking like we’re a weight-loss program, purveyor of acai berries, or other shady user of anonymous testimonials, I’d like to share some things our donors told us about their reasons for donating:

“Because you help me win claims for Veterans.”

“I refer to this site on occasion as the most reliable and well organized place to obtain the most current and precise version of provisions of the U.S. Code. the site provides a very valuable service to attorneys and to the public at large.”

“I am a former hazmat training officer, now retired from the force. I now teach the transportation companies of Quebec how to train their employees for shipping and hauling dangerous goods through Canada and the U.S. It’s really great to have a web site dedicated to informing people like me on the latest rules and regulations. Keeps me up to date ! Thanks !”

“Cornell’s LII has been an immense help to me and my clients for many years now.”

“I received very accurate legal information from a trusted source, Cornell. I have used this service for years in my representation of federal employees before administrative forums. I truly appreciate the availability of pertinent and very useful info about our laws.”

“I love your website. It’s very useful to the experienced attorney, as well as to the lay person. In Washington, D.C., the Carnegie Library in Mount Vernon Square bears the inscription “A University for the People.” Cornell continues that awesome American tradition with its website.”

“I believe the access to the law, via LII, provides an exceptional opportunity for all to have direct access to the legal and regulatory framework that controls so many aspects of our daily life. Book collections are increasingly more expensive and require costly physical space, which means that traditional public access points for non-university, non-legal everyday citizens are disappearing or are moving to pay-per-access services to save money. LII has been out in front of almost, if not all, other internet providers and is by far the most user friendly.”

“I NEED THE INFO” (that one suggests a Twitter campaign in which we respond by saying “WE NEED THE MONEY”)