Free Law Project: “In early 2010, we launched CourtListener.com. It wasn’t much, but it was a start. It could scrape decisions off court websites and whenever it found new decisions, it would send alerts by email and make the documents publicly searchable Pretty soon, our ambition grew. We came to believe that an open database of legal opinions was an important part of the democratic experiment. Wikipedia said it wanted to provide access to “the sum all human knowledge.” We believed we could provide the sum of all case law information Over the last twelve years, we’ve worked on this problem. We expanded to state courts and set up scrapers so we had more data coming in each day. We added bulk data downloads, the first-ever legal opinion API, and database replication, so people could get the data out. We added historical data from the Library of Congress, Public.Resource.Org, Lawbox, Inc, Justia, Harvard Law Library, and other sources. Recently, we even added a system for courts to add their decisions directly to CourtListener. It’s been a long, expensive and Sisyphean effort, but, like others working to open this data, we’ve never lost sight of how important it is to the country, nor of the impact it would make on the legal sector if we could pull it off. Today, through our collaboration with vLex, we take another big step.
With their financial and technical support, we aim to finish collecting every precedential legal decision from both the federal courts and the state appellate courts. Once collected, we will clean up this data and audit our collection for completion. We will enhance our citation finder and our database of courts so they are complete. Finally, by collaborating with others in this effort, we aim to do the hard work of adding citations to our database as they are published in regional and federal reporters…”