Law Students

Harvard’s “Free the Law” Will Change the Legal Field
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Summary: With unlimited access to the legal library at Harvard Law School through a special program, the ability to research and develop strong cases will greatly change the future of law.

The library at Harvard Law School is about to release their database of case law to the public online for free through a project called “Free the Law.” The librarians will start scanning the library’s entire collection except for the rarest volumes through a high-speed scanner. They estimate it will be a total of around 40 million pages, 10 million of which have already been done.


The scanned pages will go into a database where the public can search, find, and analyze the entire history of case law that the library has, dating back to the colonial period. Martha Minow, the dean of Harvard Law School, explains the reason for the project, “Improving access to justice is a priority. We feel an obligation and an opportunity here to open up our resources to the public.”

Harvard Law already offers legal aid for indigent persons for free through their student-run Legal Aid Bureau. The second- and third- year students that run this program will now have an easier time searching for similar cases, plus the program will give lawyers from other legal aid groups the ability to make stronger arguments in their own cases.

Ravel Law is providing most of the funding for the project. Ravel Law is a San Francisco-based analytics startup by a group of Stanford Law students what wanted to make the case-making process simpler.

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