Tom Bruce, Pioneer of the Free Access to Law Movement, Retiring From Cornell in June

Tom Bruce, who helped launch the Legal Information Institute (LII) at Cornell University in 1992, will be retiring as its director at the end of June 2019.

LII is the mother of all the “little” LIIs (like CanLII here in Canada), websites in dozens of countries that make legal information available for free to citizens. They all form part of the wonderful Free Access to Law Movement.

In his goodbye message, Bruce writes:

“Most of all, I am proud of all of the things that the LII has become, of all of the ways in which it has changed and grown over time, of its resilience and of the endless inventiveness of those who have worked here. That has ensured our relevance for much longer than is usual for any program based in an American law school. I know of only one or two of any kind in any law school that have been as durable. None has performed a greater public service. Our small group has preferred hard problems over shiny techno-trends, resisted dogma, and shunned facile media-friendly approaches. We have never assumed that serving a good cause guaranteed that our choices and methods were necessarily the best. Bob Wilson [U.S. avant-garde theatre director] once said that an artist asks ‘what is it?’ rather than saying ‘that is what it is’. I hope that we have been legal-information artists in exactly that way. Most of the time, we have been.”

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