‘Free Law Reporter’ Puts Searchable Opinions Online

A newly launched website, The Free Law Reporter, provides free access to a searchable index of recent federal and state court opinions. Developed by the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI), the site describes itself as an “electronic case reporter” that makes the opinions searchable and also provides them as ebook collections.

FLR  uses the feed of cases provided through the Report of Current Opinions, or RECOP. A cooperative project among Public.Resource.Org, Fastcase and others, RECOP provides a weekly bulk feed of HTML versions of all slip and final opinions of all federal and state appellate and supreme courts. The feed is available for use by anyone with the goal of spurring innovation in case law research.

(I wrote about RECOP in two posts: Public Domain Group to Begin Weekly Release of all Federal and State Appellate Cases and More Details on RECOP from Fastcase’s Ed Walters.)

CALI’s goal in creating FLR, the website says, is “to create a body of court opinions that is accessible to anyone including educators, librarians, students, lawyers and the public.” Besides providing searchable access to the cases, FLR also produces weekly ebook compilations of cases by state or federal jurisdiction. These are in the “.epub” format that can be read by a range of ebook readers on computers, mobile phones, tablets and e-readers.

Because it uses the RECOP feed, FLR’s collection covers only cases issued since Jan. 1, 2011.

CALI says it plans to use FLR as a platform for other projects. For anyone interested in keeping tabs on its development, it has set up a mailing list. You can get on the list by sending a blank e-mail to flr-list+subscribe@cali.org.