Thomas Robert Bruce

Thomas Robert Bruce


Thomas R. Bruce, Director

Tom, along with Peter Martin, founded the LII in 1992. He has been its sole director since 2004. Tom wrote much of the original software used at the LII, and in 1993 wrote Cello, the first Web browser for Microsoft Windows. LII engineers -- no fools, these guys -- know better than to let him write code any more, but occasionally he slips some in when they're not looking. Usually, a server dies about ten minutes later.

Tom has worked on legal information projects on four continents, including projects in South Africa, Japan, Vietnam, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and the Seychelles, most recently as a consultant for the Open Society Institute. He has been a fellow of the Center for Online Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts, and a Senior International Fellow at the University of Melbourne Law School. For more than a decade, he was a digital-projects consultant for the Harvard Law School Library. He has been an invited expert for the Hague Conference on Private International Law, as well as for the European Union Commission, and has testified before Congress on legislative information as a public good. In 2009, the ABA Journal named him a “Legal Rebel”, one of 50 innovators doing the most to remake the legal profession in the United States. In 2011, the legal publisher Fastcase named him to a similar group. He most recently completed work on a Linked Open Data metadata model for legislative information at the Library of Congress, and serves as an advisor to the US House of Representatives Bulk Data Task Force.

Tom has a couple of degrees from Yale in subjects that have absolutely nothing to do with law or computers. He once covered the field at Harvard Stadium with a six-foot layer of smoke, and has worked as a stage- and production manager for opera companies in (among other places) Houston, Chicago, Miami, Columbus, and Omaha, where an elephant wreaked havoc during a production of Aida (he is still remembered in Omaha as a stage-management god). He also worked for the American Repertory Theater, the New World Festival of the Arts, and as the Director of Special Technical Projects for Spoleto Festival USA; for Eastern Airlines and IBM trade shows. He's also earned his living as a rock roadie and jazz-tour lighting designer, a commercial-refrigeration installer, and as a writer of things best forgotten. His work was once hailed as “an act of artistic vandalism” by Opera News.

For fun, he buys and sells antique tools, rides bicycles for distances long enough to be considered inappropriate to oversized middle-aged men, and builds furniture for friends and, infrequently, in unlikely places. He is also a big fan of Sloppy the Reader.

His full LinkedIn profile is here.

13 years 1 month