Legal Information Institute

Legal Information Institute

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The Legal Information Institute ("LII") is a non-profit, public service of Cornell Law School
Cornell Law School
Cornell Law School, located in Ithaca, New York, is a graduate school of Cornell University and one of the five Ivy League law schools. The school confers three law degrees...

 that provides no-cost access to current American and international
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

 legal research
Legal research
Legal research is "the process of identifying and retrieving information necessary to support legal decision-making. In its broadest sense, legal research includes each step of a course of action that begins with an analysis of the facts of a problem and concludes with the application and...

 sources online at law.cornell.edu. The organization is a pioneer in the delivery of legal information online. Founded in 1992 by Peter Martin and Tom Bruce
Thomas R. Bruce
Thomas R. Bruce co-founded the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School in 1992 with Peter Martin and currently serves as the Director of the organization. He is the author of Cello, the first Web browser for Microsoft Windows. Cello was released on 8 June 1993.-External links:* at the *...

, LII was the first law site developed on the internet. LII electronically publishes on the Web the U.S. Code, U.S. Supreme Court opinions
Case law
In law, case law is the set of reported judicial decisions of selected appellate courts and other courts of first instance which make new interpretations of the law and, therefore, can be cited as precedents in a process known as stare decisis...

, Uniform Commercial Code
UCC
-Law:* Uniform civil code of India, referring to proposed Civil code in the legal system of India, which would apply equally to all irrespective of their religion...

, the US Code of Federal Regulations
Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States.The CFR is published by the Office of the Federal Register, an agency...

, several Federal Rules, and a variety of other American primary law
Primary authority
A primary authority is a document that establishes the law on a particular issue, such as a case decision or legislative act. The search for applicable primary authority is an important part of the process of legal research....

 materials. LII also provides access to other national and international
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

 sources, such as treaties and United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 materials.

Since its inception, the Legal Information Institute has inspired others around the world to develop namesake operations. These services are part of the Free Access to Law Movement
Free Access to Law Movement
The Free Access to Law Movement is the umbrella name for the collective of legal projects across several common law countries to provide free online access to legal information such as case law and legislation. The movement began in 1992 with the creation of the Cornell Law School Legal Information...

.

History


LII was established in 1992 at Cornell Law School by Professor Peter Martin and Tom Bruce
Thomas R. Bruce
Thomas R. Bruce co-founded the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School in 1992 with Peter Martin and currently serves as the Director of the organization. He is the author of Cello, the first Web browser for Microsoft Windows. Cello was released on 8 June 1993.-External links:* at the *...

 with a $250,000 multi-year startup grant from the National Center for Automated Information Research. The LII was originally based on Gopher and provided access to United States Supreme Court decisions and the US Code
United States Code
The Code of Laws of the United States of America is a compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal laws of the United States...

. Its original mission included the intent to "carry out applied research on the use of digital information technology in the distribution of legal information,...[and t]o make law more accessible."
In the early years of LII, Bruce developed Cello
Cello (web browser)
Cello was an early shareware 16-bit multipurpose web browser for Windows 3.1 developed by Thomas R. Bruce of the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School. It was the first web browser for Microsoft Windows, and thus was among the first free winsock browsers...

 the first web browser
Web browser
A web browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. An information resource is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier and may be a web page, image, video, or other piece of content...

 for Microsoft windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

. Cello was released on 8 June 1993. In 1994 LII moved from Gopher to the Web
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet...

. Since 2007 the IRS has distributed its IRS Tax Products DVD with LII's version of 26 USC (Internal Revenue Code)
Internal Revenue Code
The Internal Revenue Code is the domestic portion of Federal statutory tax law in the United States, published in various volumes of the United States Statutes at Large, and separately as Title 26 of the United States Code...

.

LII Supreme Court Collection and LII Bulletin


LII has an extensive collection of law from the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

. It hosts all Supreme Court decisions since 1990 and over 600 historic Supreme Court pre-1992 decisions in web form (by party name, by authoring justice, and by topic).

The LII Supreme Court Bulletin is LII's free Supreme Court email-based subscriber and web-based publication service. The Bulletin provides subscribers with two distinct services. The first is a notification service. LII Bulletin emails subscribers with timely notification of when the US Supreme Court has handed down a decision. It also provides subscribers links to the full opinions of those cases on the LII site.

The second service of LII Bulletin is a preview and analysis service for upcoming Supreme Court cases. Subscribers to the Bulletin receive legal analysis of upcoming Supreme Court cases with the intention of providing sophisticated yet accessible previews of the cases. LII selectively recruits second- and third-year students of the Cornell Law School
Cornell Law School
Cornell Law School, located in Ithaca, New York, is a graduate school of Cornell University and one of the five Ivy League law schools. The school confers three law degrees...

 to comprise the LII Bulletin editorial board. The Bulletin editorial board is responsible for every aspect of the journal's management, from selecting decisions for commentary to researching, writing, editing, and producing the journal content in HTML.

Wex Legal Dictionary and Encyclopedia


LII publishes a wiki
Wiki
A wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users. Examples include...

called Wex Legal Dictionary/Encyclopedia, a collaboratively authored, freely available legal reference. Qualified legal experts are allowed to post and edit entries on legal topics within Wex.

External links