Introduction to the Legal Information Institute
What is the Legal Information Institute?
The Legal Information Institute (LII) is a research and electronic publishing activity of the Cornell Law School, founded in 1992 by co-directors Thomas R. Bruce and Peter W. Martin (now Director and Director Emeritus, respectively). Its work is supported by the National Center for Automated Information Research, a growing number of corporate sponsors, and the Keck Foundation through grants and funded joint studies.
The Institute publishes electronic versions of core materials in numerous areas of the law both online and packaged for download -- ranging from the Constitution to the U.S. Code. It maintains this Internet site and its many resources. It builds software tools assisting Internet users and publishers. And through workshops and consultation it works to aid others who want to explore the full potential of electronic publication and communication.
Why has Cornell Law School established such a program and what kinds of activities has the Institute undertaken, both on the Internet and via other electronic means? For more on these and related questions, click here.
Some of Most Heavily Used Internet Publications Accessed Via This Server
The Supreme Court, Its Decisions, and the U.S. Constitution
Since May of 1990, the Supreme Court has released its decisions to the Internet. Since 1993 the LII has provided access to those decisions. Initially the LII provided a hypertext front-end and search engine for decisions archived at Case Western Reserve University; it now receives the decisions directly, mounting them on a dedicated server. The LII also offers a growing collection of selected historic decisions.
Lower Federal Courts
Decisions of the U.S. Courts of Appeals are appearing on the Internet. The several sites offering individual courts' decisions are all accessible from the LII server. In addition, the LII facilitates searching one or all of the Federal Circuit Courts. Cornell's unique resource, a statistical database on litigation in Federal Courts, is also available here.
The LII maintains an index of sites offering individual state courts' decisions.
Decisions of the New York Court of Appeals
The LII has prepared and indexed the most recent decisions of the New York Court of Appeals for Internet access. Like the Supreme Court decisions, they can be retrieved by party name or topic or key word search.
U.S. Code (Acts of Congress)
This LII converts raw text from the Office of the Law Revision Counsel into hyperlinked web pages of the entire U.S. Code. The date of any text appearing on the site appears in italics at the upper right in every Code section. An update service (available onscreen as you look at each section) integrates the services of the House servers and of the Library of Congress Thomas service to supply accurate updates to any section which has changed.
Important Statutes and Related Material
The LII has prepared rich hypertext versions of a number of key statutes. These allow key word search, access via tables of chapters and sections, and include hypertext linking of all internal cross references. Among these statutes are: the Uniform Commercial Code, the Copyright Act, the Patent Act, and the Federal Trademark Act. In addition to these individual statutes, the LII has prepared a hypertext version of the full U.S. Code as published on CD-ROM by the Government Printing Office and organized the growing number of state statutes on the Internet by topic. Our statutes page contains a more complete listing of statutes and similar material available via this site.
A large collection of multilateral treaties is available as well.
Current Awareness Services
The LII also publishes via e-mail. The liibulletin publishes both Supreme Court opinions syllabi and previews of cases pending oral argument. For further information on both click here. In addition, the LII provides LII's Eye on the Courts which links to newsworthy appellate decisions on the Net.
The LII Server as Organizer of Legal Material Held Elsewhere on the Internet
The World Wide Web allows the gathering of materials that are mounted on computers scattered around the globe. This server seeks to take full advantage of materials others have put on the Net. First, it offers a detailed set of tables organizing law material by topic and by type or source of document which gather related materials, no matter where their source. To see those tables click here. Just as the Supreme Court materials here provide access tools, related material about the Court, and context setting information, coverage of other legal topics by the LII includes explanation and cross references. For an example, click here to see the LII's topical documents on commerial law.