Free Law Project Adds More than 1.5M Opinions to its Collection Thanks to Data Donation
For Immediate Release --- Berkeley, CA
After many years of collecting and curating data, today CourtListener crossed some incredible boundaries. Thanks to a generous data donation from Lawbox LLC, our computers are currently adding more than 1.5M new opinions to CourtListener, expanding our coverage to a total of more than 350 jurisdictions. This new data enables legal professionals and researchers insight into data that has never before been available in bulk and greatly enhances the data we previously had. This data will be slowly rolling out in our front end, and will soon be available in bulk from our bulk downloads page. A new version of our coverage page was developed, and, as always, you can see our current coverage for any jurisdiction we support.
It's difficult to overstate the importance of this new data. In addition to being a massive expansion of our coverage, it also brings some notable improvements to the project:
- For all of the new data and much of our old data, we have added star pagination throughout. For the first time, this will make pinpoint citations possible using the CourtListener platform.
- We've re-organized our database for more accurate citations enabling for the first time the creation of a citation cross walk. We will soon be releasing an API for our data and when we do, a simple query for a citation could tell you equivalent citations for that opinion. For example, a query for a Supreme Court opinion could tell you its citation in West's Federal Reporter, Lawyers' Edition, and a historical citation, like one to Howard's Supreme Court Reports. Similarly, for courts with neutral citations, one could query the neutral citation and get back the citation in the regional reporter and state reporter or vice versa. This has long been a pipe dream for numerous legal professionals and will soon be a reality.
- This fills in previously unknown gaps in the data available from Resource.org. Although it is often considered complete, we have identified a few small gaps, which this donation has corrected.
- We've completed a first pass at extracting judge information from all of the new opinions. This feature is still in beta since our extraction is not comprehensive, but this feature can be used for rough queries starting immediately.
- We've created a massive database of all known reporters and released it for free to the public. In addition to containing all of the reporters we found when working with this donation, it contains variations for their names as found in our corpus and in the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations. This database can be used in citation finders or other tools, like the Free Law Ferret.
- We've created a new database of American jurisdictions. It currently contains 351 jurisdictions and can be used to create systems such as CourtListener. The data is not yet complete and we welcome your contributions.
As you can tell, this is a very big day for the Free Law Project and the legal world --- one that we've quietly been working towards for months. Over the remainder of the week we will be writing two additional posts about this topic, explaining the design work behind our new jurisdiction picker, and the process we use to merge new corpuses in with our existing data.
We hope that these new opinions and features will unleash a new surge in legal research and technology, and that you'll help support our project so that we can continue bringing these technologies and information to the fore.