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Harvard Law School Digitization Project Publishes Nearly 7 Million Court Cases Online

The Harvard Crimson: “The Caselaw Access Project published nearly seven million cases from the Harvard Law School’s collections online on March 8, concluding a nine-year process to digitize the HLS Library’s archive of court cases. The Caselaw Access Project, also known as CAP, aimed “to make all published U.S. court decisions freely available to the public online in a consistent format, digitized from the collection of the Harvard Law School Library,” according to the project’s website. The recent release of cases has culminated in “360 years of United States caselaw” accessible to the public, according to the project’s website. This includes all “official, book-published state and federal United States caselaw through 2020,” with the first case dating back to 1658. Jack Cushman, the project’s director, said that the impetus behind the effort was a desire to make caselaw more accessible to the public. In the past, few people beyond lawyers had access to expensive caselaw databases and could view important legal decisions. This project, according to Cushman, sought to level the playing field. Cushman said he believed it was important “for everyone to have access to the law of the land.”

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