A new partnership between Free Law Project, a nonprofit devoted to making legal information publicly and freely available, and vLex, the international legal research platform, will enable Free Law Project to complete its goal of collecting every precedential court decision from the federal courts and state appellate courts and making them available to the public as a free resource.

vLex will provide Free Law with financial and technical support, as well as editorial and research support. The cases will be available through Free Law Project’s CourtListener website.

Michael Lissner, executive director of Free Law Project, said that the collection will be audited to ensure that there are no gaps in coverage.

While Free Law Project already has a database of court opinions, it is not complete and relies on scrapers and contributions of data from sources that include the Library of CongressPublic.Resource.OrgLawbox IncJustia, and the Harvard Law Library.

“The goal for the past decade is to build a complete case law database,” Lissner said. “This is going to make it happen.”

In a post today, Lissner wrote of the partnership with vLex:

“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.”

In terms of historical coverage of older cases, Lissner said, “It’ll go all the way back as far as it needs to go, but of course if our audit shows that we’re missing content from 1995 and from 1695, we’ll have to prioritize the more recent content. Generally though, the goal is to have every important opinion, full stop.”

“We are proud to be using our technology and knowledge of data to make legal information more accessible in the United States,” Masoud Gerami, managing director, vLex Global Markets, said in a statement. “We look forward to collaborating with Free Law Project over the coming years to achieve our shared goal of providing those in the U.S. and around the world with intuitive and equal access to the law.”


Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.