'Aux Armes, Citoyens!:' Time for Law Schools to Lead the Movement for Free and Open Access to the Law
46 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2007
This article is a manifesto that outlines the principles of the open access to legal information movement and sounds a call to action for law schools to become leaders in that movement. The article surveys the present legal information environment, reviews the development of computer-assisted legal information and the long-term future of book-based legal research, and discusses the problems inherent in a system where two large 'information resource' corporations control access to legal information. After considering the need for open access to the law for pro se litigants, scholars from outside the legal academy, and practicing lawyers, after considering and rejecting courts and legislators as viable guarantors of open access, and with the model of the clinical legal community's tradition of engaged scholarship as an example, the article concludes that America's law schools have both the opportunity and obligation to provide an alternative to the commercial legal information sites and make America's law freely available to all. The article ends with a series of proposed principles that might guide such an open-access legal information site.
Keywords: open access, legal information, legal research
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