Today marks another big day for the Free Law Project. We’re happy to share that we’ve created the first ever API for U.S. Legal Opinions. An API —- or Application Programming Interface —- is a way for computers to talk to each other and consume each others’ data in an automated fashion. From this day forth, developers, researchers and legal startups can begin consuming the data that we have at CourtListener in a granular and very specific manner.
For example, here are some very basic things that can be done with our API (these links will only work if you are signed in to your CourtListener account):
- Include a list of relevant opinions on your blog or website.
- Get a list of the new opinions of the day (here’s today’s, for example) and make a Twitter or Facebook page from it.
- Keep track of opinions that we’ve blocked from search engines at the request of an involved party. This might allow you to block such cases in your project or otherwise analyze privacy concerns in legal opinions.
- See modifications that we’ve recently made to our collection (this can sometimes be a very large number of items!).
- Interrogate or track the citations within an opinion or the citations to an opinion you’re interested in.
- Keep track of changes to our database of American jurisdictions or simply get a list of them.
- Show the most relevant opinions for a controversial topic like abortion (Roe v. Wade is the second hit thanks to CiteGeist).
- Build a citation cross-walk that allows you to find parallel citations.
And this is just the beginning. Legal data has been hard to query and analyze for a very long time, and with this initiative we hope to begin breaking down this barrier. If you’re interested in using our API, it’s free, though we appreciate a linkback or a powered-by logo. Just make sure you’re logged in, and you’ll be good to go.
Posted By: Michael Lissner