Legal Information Institute

Legal Information Institute
Legal Information Institute (LII)
LII's Homepage.
The home page of LII on 03/03/2010
Slogan Providing free online access to law.
Commercial? No
Type of site Nonprofit, Open Access to US Law
Registration Optional
Available language(s) English, Some french[1]
Owner Cornell Law School
Created by Peter Martin and Tom Bruce
Launched January 1, 1992 (1992-01-01) (19 years ago)
Current status Available

The Legal Information Institute ("LII") is a non-profit, public service of Cornell Law School that provides no-cost access to current American and international legal research sources online at The organization is a pioneer in the delivery of legal information online.[2] Founded in 1992 by Peter Martin and Tom Bruce,[3][4] LII was the first law site developed on the internet.[2] LII electronically publishes on the Web the U.S. Code, U.S. Supreme Court opinions, Uniform Commercial Code, the US Code of Federal Regulations, several Federal Rules,[5] and a variety of other American primary law materials.[6] LII also provides access to other national and international sources, such as treaties and United Nations materials.[7]

Since its inception, the Legal Information Institute has inspired others around the world to develop namesake operations.[6] These services are part of the Free Access to Law Movement.



LII was established in 1992 at Cornell Law School by Professor Peter Martin and Tom Bruce with a $250,000 multi-year startup grant from the National Center for Automated Information Research.[8] The LII was originally based on Gopher and provided access to United States Supreme Court decisions and the US Code.[3] 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."[8] In the early years of LII, Bruce developed Cello the first web browser for Microsoft windows.[9][10] Cello was released on 8 June 1993.[11] In 1994 LII moved from Gopher to the Web.[3] Since 2007 the IRS has distributed its IRS Tax Products DVD[12] with LII's version of 26 USC (Internal Revenue Code).[13]

LII Supreme Court Collection and LII Bulletin

LII has an extensive collection of law from the Supreme Court of the United States.[14] 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).[15]

The LII Supreme Court Bulletin is LII's free Supreme Court email-based subscriber and web-based publication service.[16] The Bulletin provides subscribers with two distinct services.[17] The first is a notification service. LII Bulletin emails subscribers with timely notification of when the US Supreme Court has handed down a decision.[18] It also provides subscribers links to the full opinions of those cases on the LII site.[18]

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.[17] LII selectively recruits second- and third-year students of the Cornell Law School to comprise the LII Bulletin editorial board.[17] 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.[19]

Wex Legal Dictionary and Encyclopedia

LII publishes a wiki called Wex Legal Dictionary/Encyclopedia, a collaboratively authored, freely available legal reference. Qualified legal experts[20] are allowed to post and edit entries on legal topics within Wex.


  1. ^ Wex:Espanol
  2. ^ a b Laurence, Helen; William Miller (2000). Academic research on the Internet: options for scholars and libraries. Routledge. pp. 160. ISBN 0789011778. 
  3. ^ a b c St. Amant, Kirk (2007). Handbook of Research on Open Source Software: Technological, Economic, and Social Perspectives. IGI Global. pp. 375. ISBN 1591409993. 
  4. ^ Stefanou, Constantin; Helen Xanthaki (2008). Drafting legislation: a modern approach. Ashgate Publishing. pp. 272. ISBN 0754649032. 
  5. ^ Hart, William; Roderick D. Blanchard (July 18, 2006). Litigation and Trial Practice (6th ed.). Delmar Cengage Learning. pp. 160. ISBN 1418016896. 
  6. ^ a b Myers, Linda, Cornell University Chronicle (04/20/00). "CU Law Institute Web Site has Latest Legal Information". Retrieved 2008-06-10 .
  7. ^ Herman, Edward (2001). Locating United States Government Information: A Guide to Sources, 2001 Internet Supplement. William S Hein & Co. pp. 27. ISBN 1575886839. 
  8. ^ a b "LII:Overview". Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  9. ^ "The World Wide Web History Project - Web History Day: Pioneering Software and Sites". Retrieved 2010-03-04 
  10. ^ He, Jimin (1998). Internet resources for engineers. Elsevier. pp. 34. ISBN 9780750689496. 
  11. ^ Gillies, James; Cailliau, R. (2000). How the Web was born: the story of the World Wide Web. Oxford University Press. pp. 235. ISBN 9780192862075. 
  12. ^ "IRS DVD Link". Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  13. ^ "LII Announce: Nothing sure but...". Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  14. ^ Trinkle, Dennis A.; Scott A. Merriman (2001). The History Highway: A 21st-Century Guide to Internet Resources. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 338. ISBN 0765616300. 
  15. ^ Hall, Kermit; John J. Patrick (2006). The pursuit of justice: Supreme Court decisions that shaped America. Oxford University Press US. pp. 244. ISBN 0195325680. 
  16. ^ Crawford, Franklin Cornell University Chronicle (09/17/2007). "Cornell Legal Information Institute posts previews of Supreme Court cases". Retrieved 2010-03-04 .
  17. ^ a b c Bruce, Tom, B-Screeds (03/03/09). "The LIIBULLETIN: believe it or not". Retrieved 2010-03-03 .
  18. ^ a b Ambrogi, Robert (2004). The essential guide to the best (and worst) legal sites on the Web. ALM Publishing. pp. 333. ISBN 1588521176. 
  19. ^ "liibulletin: The LII Supreme Court Bulletin". Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  20. ^ "liibulletin: Editorial Contributions". Retrieved 2010-03-03. 

External links

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