Introducing Myself to CourtListener / Free Law Project
My experience contacting and explaining my intentions to professor Brian Carver were straight forward. I had been interested in his project since he briefly mentioned it years ago at a talk. I knew I wanted to work on a project that was local to our community, so I emailed him about contributing to his "Free Law Project." We set up an informal meeting, and talked for an hour about his wishes and needs for the project to grow. This included setting up scrapers, landing pages, and improving Court Listener's user interface.
I did not follow a script because I have been accustomed to approaching venture capitalists for funding. They ask about everything you can do, and they know their stuff. Contacting Brian was a very similar situation because I was confident in what I could bring to the project. I did not face and barriers to participation either because I knew where I would fit into the project and had the accumen to back it up. I do think my experience was personal because Brian is my ISchool counselor. We've also known each other for a while, so I wasn't too bashful in bringing up requests or concerns. I had to gauge Michael Lissner's needs as well (the creator of the project), which I saw to be user interface design, scraping, and developing a court search API. I have been talking to Michael over the Mailing List (you can see it in the archives for this month). Before that, the core team was introduced by Brian through the listserve with short bios and what we could contribute to the project.