What's the Library's History?
Who's behind it?
A 'Lectric Law Library FAQ
The American Bar Assn. invited the Library's Head Librarian, Chief Counsel, highly respected lawyer, and so on, Ralf R Rinkle, to speak on Legal Websites at it's 1997 Annual Meeting in San Francisco. However, due to his many previous commitments, and possibly a bit confused from his heavy workload, Ralf's response was: "Why the * do a bunch of moron * saloon owners expect me to waste my * time on them? Tell the cheap *'s that they can * and if the *'s don't like it I'll sue their *'s off!" * expletive deleted.
So, one of Ralf's slaves, desperate to escape the constant abuse... Strike that. . . . One of the Library Staff finagled himself into substituting for Ralf, hitch-hiked to the shindig, gave the speech, stayed a week, offended and insulted thousands of lawyers, stole, scammed and . . . Well, you can read about everything if his article about it is ever finished.
Anyhow, below is the written material he prepared for the presentation. It explains the Library's history & the warped minds behind it... at least a little.
Sustaining A Successful Web Site
While Staying Sane and Solvent (??)
Material accompanying presentation to the ABA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, Aug. 3, 1997.
The 'Lectric Law Library, on-line since May, 1995, began as an early 1994 proposal to the Nevada University System for a non-profit on-line legal information resource and has metamorphosed into perhaps the Internet's most popular commercial law-oriented website... and almost certainly its most unique, irreverent, entertaining and/or weird.
The Library's more than 4500 files include the net's largest law dictionary and collections of legal forms, software, humor, study guides and lots more --all available at no cost. Its revenue is theoretically derived from 'advertising' by the various sectors of the legal industry.
During April, 1997, the Library received in excess of 500,000 'hits' from visitors who mainly consist of law professionals and students, business people, and adult lay people.
The Library has been planned, developed, etc., by Jeff Liebling, a life long information junkie and zeitgeist-buster who used to occasionally work as an international business consultant, political campaign/issue advisor, and investigative researcher. Liebling is not now, and has never been, a lawyer, though in his younger days (before the Dead Sea was even sick) he did go to a number of prestigious law schools (mostly to steal typewriters, unsuccessfully try to pick up students and generally create turmoil). He does have considerable experience with complex federal civil litigation and has been accused of, but never prosecuted for, the unauthorized practice of law.
He moved from California to Nevada more than 4 years ago because of his mistaken belief that, as the only (?) state with no law school, there would be no lawyers there. He works 28 hours a day on the Library and otherwise has no life.
I just discovered that the topic of my presentation is supposed to be "Sustaining a Successful Site while Staying Sane and Solvent." While, depending on your definition, the Library may be 'successful', I have no idea why. And I can only assume that "sane and solvent" is a reflection of some ABA staffer's demented sense of humor . . . or some kind of cruel hoax.
The fact is that developing and maintaining a successful web site and retaining even a modicum of sanity are mutually exclusive concepts... and while 'solvent' is a word I've run across in my readings, having been independently impoverished all of my adult life I have absolutely no first-hand experience of what it is.
Therefore, here are a number of excerpts and pages from the Library, both in text and as they appear online. You're all smart lawyers. Maybe you can figure it out.
With All The Stuff On The Net Already
Why Do We Need The Library?
A few years back the library staff started exploring the internet looking for legal information. What we discovered was an incredible network with unlimited potential - but we also found a number of discouraging things that, with some notable exceptions, sometimes seem almost universal, like:
- Lots of basic important stuff was nowhere to be found;
- What was available often took hours to find;
- Much useful material was in formats that most people couldn't use;
- Some of the best stuff was indexed so badly it may as well not been there;
- Sites with great content - but they were sooooo boring;
- Sites with great content - but with documents split into 8 zillion html files;
- Sites with great content - but that had nothing except 'under construction' signs;
- Sites that seemed great - until finding it was all tiny excerpts attached to ads;
- Sites so loaded with graphics it wasn't worth waiting to find out what they had.
- This is a small attempt to create a site without these things;
- Oh, and hopefully make some money doing it.
(Note: The Library's Home Page, Ralf's Tour, and other items were also included.)