About LII

Thanks for your interest in the Legal Information Institute (LII).

You can learn a little about our organization below. And when you're done, learn about our staff because, believe it or not, it takes the hard work of real people to maintain and improve a site as big as ours.

Our Mission:

We are a not-for-profit organization that believes everyone should be able to read and understand the laws that govern them, without cost. We carry out this vision by: We are a small research, engineering, and editorial group housed at the Cornell Law School in Ithaca, NY.  Our collaborators include publishers, legal scholars, computer scientists, government agencies, and other groups and individuals that promote open access to law, worldwide. Please support our work...

How we are funded:

20% of our funding is contributed by generous people like you who believe that law should be freely available to everyone. All of your donations go directly toward supporting the LII itself.

Donate to LII

About 60% of our funding comes as direct support from the Cornell Law School, which also provides us with some administrative apparatus. We earn money where we can –  for example, through our lawyer directory and online advertising. This income accounts for 20% of our funding. Along with your contributions, that helps us do things we otherwise couldn't afford.

How we use funds:

The main expense in running a website is not technology, even on a site that offers more than 300,000 pages to 20 million unique visitors every year. Instead, more than 80% of our budget goes to salaries for our small staff, and to stipends for the law and computer science students who work with us. Almost all the remainder is spent on computing facilities, which we tailor to demand using cloud-computing technology.  Less than 5% goes to administrative overhead.

Because our core staff is small and our activity level is high, it is hard to tell you precisely how this money is spent. How much of the time that Dan Nagy spent working on a server should be allocated to the WEX legal encyclopedia? To the collection of Supreme Court decisions? How often do Dave Shetland's code libraries get used for the Code of Federal Regulations, and how often for the US Code? How many red pencils did Sara Frug use up editing the Federal Rules? These are hard questions to answer, and maybe not so important so long as you understand that nearly all of your money buys talent. We try to apply that talent as effectively and efficiently as we can.