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August 2014


Stop feeling so guilty, willya?

Skilled fundraisers that we are (not), we have a variety of ways that we try to find out what motivates you to make a contribution to the LII. The number one leading answer is…


Ithaca brings us the world

Summer brings a steady flow of academic visitors to our home in Ithaca, New York, especially students and faculty from institutions who come to learn from what the LII has accomplished. But throughout the rest of the year, students are the secret weapon to help keep the LII going strong. Read more…

Margaret Felts

LII donor Margaret Felts on fracking and free law

As an attorney, expert witness, and technical consultant on complex environmental litigation, LII supporter Margaret Felts depends on the LII and understands that “free” doesn’t mean “costless.” Learn more, and grab some insight into “fracking,” which is pitting local governments against natural gas companies throughout the US. Read more…


LII in the classroom

With the new school year approaching, we thought we’d share this list of remarkable ways that educators at all levels use the LII in the classroom. Teachers, this one’s for you.


Crowdsourcing the LII

Donors and supporters of the LII are very loyal… both to us as an organization, and to the notion that everyone should be able to find and understand the law, without cost. We’ve spent more than 20 years making the law available, but making that law understandable to lay people is not something we can do alone. This year, we’re working on ways to harness the expertise and generosity of our friends and empower them to help those who need it most. Learn how our new Reference Desk, our Wex legal encyclopedia, and our new Beta Testers Group can benefit all of us, and take this as your invitation to get involved.


Real law librarians give you real answers… for free!

Each day, visitors to our site ask for help in finding specific legal information. We try to keep up with the requests, but thanks to the talents of some professional law librarians volunteering for the LII, we now have a place to help you find the information you need without having to locate the nearest law library. Read more about our new online Reference Desk.


Get your expertise in front of 25 million users

Over the past few years, we’ve grown to be very good (or very, very bad–depending on your perspective) about asking our users to contribute money to support online open access to legal information. But now we want to ask you to contribute something else that’s vitally important to our efforts to make the law accessible to all:  your expertise. Read more…


Calling all nitpickers

A Reporter of Decisions for the US Supreme Court once described his work as “serial peripatetic nitpicking.” New technological features demand that kind of effort — we want to find out what’s needed, what isn’t, what works, and what doesn’t. And we need your help. Read more…



May 2014


The Worst Stewardship Letter, Ever

Most fundraisers emphasize — rightly — the importance of talking to contributors about the measurable impact of their contributions. That’s surprisingly hard for us to do — and it’s not because there’s no impact and no story to tell. It’s an information problem built into the nature of what we do, but the impacts and stories are real. Read more…


LII Team Wins Googliest Project Award

Definitions are the building blocks of the law, and yet pouring through them to find what applies to you is frustrating to many of our us. Computer automation might help, but how can a computer understand exactly what we’re looking for? We at the Legal Information Institute think this is pretty important challenge, and apparently Google does too. Read more…

McCueThumb 2

LII Friend Mick McCue Talks about the Aereo Case, and Why the LII Matters

Through a career that has spanned most of our current information age, two things have always been there for Mick McCue: an ability to “mix and match ideas to get things done,” and the Legal Information Institute. Find out more, plus, get his insight into ABC, Inc., et al. v. Aereo, an important communications case now before the Supreme Court. Read more…


Meet the Staff: The Password Master

How did a career as a professional dancer help prepare new LII Systems Administrator Nicholas Ceynowa for a job at the LII? Last week, he took some time to answer our silly (and serious) questions from his top secret bunker at Cornell. Read more…


Our Supreme Court Bulletin Turns Twenty!

The LII’s Supreme Court Bulletin just assembled its new staff to cover the Court during the 2014 – 2015 term, which will begin in October. With new Editor-in-Chief L. Alyssa Chen, and new Executive Editor Daniel Rosales, the LII staff is taking a moment to look back and to thank the more than 400 students who have contributed to Bulletin’s success. Read more…


Another Partnership is Born

The San Diego Chapter of the Federal Bar Association asked the LII Supreme Court Bulletin to help provide their members with custom content. Would your chapter like to be next?

Read more…



February 2014 

high jump Thanks to you, we met the challenge
Our December fundraiser was a huge success, generating nearly $80,000 in gifts from 885 donors. Thanks to all of you who gave and continue to support us. We would especially like to thank a group of longtime donors who generously agreed to match all gifts received in the last two weeks of the campaign. If you haven’t donated to the LII recently, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to make a tax-deductible gift today. Thanks to all of our LII donors.
Park Mr. Park goes to Washington
In what has become an annual tradition, the LII sent the Editor-in-Chief of our Supreme Court Bulletin to Washington to brief inductees to the Supreme Court bar about the cases they would be watching as part of their US Supreme Court swearing-in ceremonies. Read more…
Knudsen Meet our donors: Kristin Knudsen
The State of Alaska doesn’t have a law school, but the Justice Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage does have an outstanding Legal Studies program. Assistant Professor Kristin Knudsen and her students rely on the LII every, single day. Read more…
hangouts Mark your calendars to Hangout with the LII
Join LII Director Tom Bruce for one hour of Q&A about the LII web site, legal information, the Free Access to Law Movement, open data standards… just about anything you dare to ask! Our Google Hangout begins at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific time on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Have a question for Tom? Email him at and we might answer your question on the air! More details to come soon.
Wayne Meet the staff: It’s all Wayne’s work
One question many of us get asked often is, “What exactly is it that you do at the LII?” Last week, LII interface developer Wayne Weibel took some time to answer from his office, high atop the Peace Tower at Cornell Law School. Read more…
Computer How do you read me? LII launches new research collaboration
The LII is a place where people — a lot of people — come to find and understand the law.  They come to us looking for information.  But what if we looked for information from them?  It would help us understand what they don’t understand, what we need to organize and present more clearly, and how they make use of what we have.  Read more…
joal Debut: Journal of Open Access to Law
Members of the Free Access to Law Movement recently announced the debut of a multidisciplinary journal showcasing research related to legal information that is made openly available on the Internet. Read more…