Monday, September 13, 2010

Whats the idea Sir ji: Talking about Legalsutra- Part 1

Documents and archiving them has intrigued me for a long time, especially after our alumni Lawrence Liang's talk on Archives, while we were going through a process of making our own archive. The talk stimulated my interest and I helped in the creation of Open Book Society (OBS) and its website openbooklive.com. It did pretty well for starters but is currently pretty much out of service, as all founder members lost interest (building another google books project for research papers is tough and expensive!). However, what remained in my mind was the idea of the creation of a law school project and other document repository, which we had shelved during our OBS days, because as Lawrence had told us, on seeking his advise, that let the private economy of law school projects run as it does.

Later, I got to know that Prashant Iyengar, a Nalsar graduate, who used to work with Lawrence (atleast then a year or two ago) and had created the brilliant Open Judis for searching through Supreme Court judgments had a similar idea, and he had in fact started a wiki for such projects and collected about 150 of them. But, due to academic considerations, he could not devote enough time for it and this project too, as fare as I know, fizzled out.

Now Legalsutra is my idea to use today's best document viewing technology to create a repository of documents which are quite useful for law school students, such as research papers/projects, study notes,case notes, case summaries, moot court memorials, random legal research etc. My experience has been that a huge quantity of such documents are churned out each year, especially by students of the premier law schools of India, and most of it goes waste, and sometimes doesn't even pass to junior batches, let alone being accessible to students from other law schools. The users will be able to search, read, comment, discuss, share and upload these documents, and I hope that with the demand for such documents will come their supply.
The whole point of launching Legalsutra would be to increase access to legal knowledge, encouraging collaborative learning, and providing a platform for displaying your law school skills.

Currently I am working with a really smart coder who is just 15 years old, Rishabh Verma, from Chandigarh, and I am hoping that we'll be able to have a beta launch soon.

The next part of this post will come only when Legalsutra is launched :).

If you are interested in helping out with the tech part of the launch, and you have a good knowledge of PHP, and of hacking drupal CMS, or in any other way you can think of then please feel free to mail me at mail AT arjunsheoran DOT com.