E077: Giving Big: Free Access to Law with FindLaw founder Tim Stanley
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“The Freelaw movement is about trying to get primary law online, for free” – Tim Stanley
Tim Stanley, amongst other things, is the founder of FindLaw – a website which ties together free legal sites, putting out to the public free legal information. He eventually sold FindLaw and has now started a number of different sites, all aimed at helping the public get legal information for free. His business, justia.com makes its money by designing web pages for legal firms, and this money is used to pay for the site’s free information, such as various case documents, an expert-witness directory and overviews of federal law (organized by practise area). In today’s show, Jacob talks to Tim about the FreeLaw movement and what lawyers should be doing online to make their business a success.
“Those that participate and provide good content, they will get rewarded” – Tim Stanley
Everyone has the right to free legal information. But this isn’t the case right now. Tim Stanley is trying to change that. As founder of FindLaw and justia.com, Tim has a mission to give the public access to free legal information online, and has had a number of successes, but there is still a long way to go. In today’s show, Tim and Jacob chat about the FreeLaw movement, and Tim gives some excellent advice on what lawyers should be doing to improve their online success.
If you prefer to watch the discussion in action, here is my recorded interview with Tim Stanley (please refresh your browser a few times if it isn’t loaded properly the first time):
In this interview you’ll learn
- 02’06” – Tim’s journey from going from being an attorney to a legal technology innovator
- 04’53” – What is FreeLaw
- 12’07” – How FreeLaw works for official court decisions
- 16’44” – The bottom line and future for FreeLaw
- 24’10” – The importance of having good content on your site
- 26’42” – How websites are different now
- 30’44 – How to take your website to the next level
Written Podcast Transcription:
Introduction: Welcome to the Enchanting Lawyer Podcast. The show that walks you step by step to improving strategies you can use today to grow your business. We show you how being kind, useful and, of course, enchanting will bring you more clients and build a thriving community. Now here’s your host from sunny San Diego, Jacob Sapochnick.
Jacob: Hello everybody, this is Jacob Sapochnick with the Enchanting Lawyer podcast. Today we are going to be talking to a very special guest, Tim Stanley, the CEO of Justia. Him and his wife, Stacy, they are also the original founders of FindLaw.
Before we talk to Tim, I had a few discussions the past few weeks with legal innovators like Kevin O’Keefe from LexBlog and others. I consider Tim to be in that category.
We talked about building sustainable businesses, we talked about creating innovation in law with many of the attorneys that we engage here on the podcast and email us. I want to go back to the industry and understand some core elements and where is the future of law. Tim has a lot of insights on building content, websites, and, of course, free law. The free law movement and what it is.
Tim, I’m honored and privileged to have you on the show. How are you today?
Tim: Doing great. I’m glad to be here. Thank you very much for inviting me.
Jacob: Excellent. Most of our listeners who are attorneys, they know that in the legal space right now there’s just few companies who know what it takes to build solid websites. I consider Justia to be one of those companies.
Small disclaimer, I am actually a customer of Justia. I’ve been working with Justia I think from late 2005, and I have to tell you that a lot of my success I owed to Tim and Stacy and their support over the years. I wanted to share some of that with our listeners. Hopefully will be inspired and will take some takeaways. Tim, welcome to the show.
Tim, why don’t you tell us a little bit … I mean I gave you a little bit intro. You’re the CEO of Justia and I mentioned about FindLaw. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself. You are an attorney, Stacy is an attorney; a bit about the journey of you transitioning from an attorney to a legal technology innovator.
Tim: Sure. I was a Math and Computer Science major [unclear 00:02:39] graduate, then did a master’s degree in Engineering at Stanford, went off to law school and then came back with actually Ph.D. program at Stanford. That was sort of at the beginning of the internet’s time, so this is ‘92, ’93 when I was back there. There was just … Things were just sort of starting to happen on the web. So the web had just come out. [Gopher 00:03:08] probably still had more information than the web did.
And then as things started moving along myself, Stacy and Martin Roscheisen were putting up different free legal information, doing different engineering projects. We sort of started FindLaw. Initially we had taken the idea and had want to do something at Stanford – ideally with the law school. But at that time they weren’t that interested in doing the free law stuff. So we just started putting it up.
To read the complete transcription of this podcast, click here.
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