Harvard Law School launched the Caselaw Access Project in 2015 to digitize the Harvard Law School Library’s complete collection of U.S. case law and to make the materials in that collection available online for free. We’ve been able to undertake this ambitious project — covering 44,000 volumes — with the support of Ravel Law, a legal research and analytics platform. In the time since and according to a detailed agreement between them, Harvard Law School and Ravel Law together have digitized nearly 40 million pages of published court decisions, and today the work continues to convert those digital images into machine-readable text to allow searching as well as display.
This week Ravel was acquired by LexisNexis. LexisNexis has affirmed its commitment to continuing Ravel Law’s support for and fulfillment of the objectives of the Caselaw Access Project, including providing open access to all of the digitized cases.
“We embarked on this project knowing that a startup as smart and bold as Ravel Law could be acquired by any number of businesses, including those long involved in commercial legal research. Our agreements were inked with these possibilities in mind, and key benefits and obligations of those agreements will now flow to LexisNexis,” said Jonathan Zittrain, the George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School, and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources. “We look forward to completing this project according to its long-planned timetable, and to exploring other opportunities with anyone interested in promoting free and open access to primary legal materials, which in turn promotes the cause of justice.”
And all of us at the HLS Library congratulate the team at Ravel, including its leaders Daniel Lewis and Nik Reed, for the pathbreaking work they’ve done.