Katie Fortney is a soon-to-be librarian and a non-practicing lawyer in Northern California.
Minow: Katie, tell us the gist of your new paper, "Towards an Open Source Legal Operating System"
Fortney: When I switched from practicing the law to just occasionally wanting to get at it, it became painfully obvious to me how expensive it is and how hard it can be to find. There's no good reason for that. One of the roadblocks is states claiming copyright in their laws, and this paper discusses why they do that, and why they shouldn't. It also mentions some of the great sites out there - like Justia, Public.Resource, and LII - that are already working on making primary legal materials accessible online from your home and public library.
Minow: Did you choose SSRN because you are looking for readers' comments? If so, what kinds of comments do you hope to get?
Fortney: Sure. I wondered if what I wrote might be a little too legal for a general audience, and a little too general for a legal audience. As someone who straddles two fields and hasn't done a lot of writing in either of them yet, I thought it would be helpful to step away from it myself for a while and see if i could get the benefit of others' perspectives. I'd like to know things like how readable it is to non-lawyers, whether this is an issue people are generally aware of already, and what kind of added information might be helpful.