If you’re a current or aspiring law student haven’t heard of WeCite, it’s time to familiarize yourself. WeCite is a product of Casetext, a San Francisco-based startup dedicated to making the law more understandable and accessible—specifically for the under-served and under-represented. A team of attorneys founded it.
WeCite is essentially the Wikipedia for court case relationships and explanations. It is community-sourced and links court opinions and previous decisions forming what they call “case relationships.”
In one semester, law students have made more than 135,000 data points, or case relationships, alone. Students from more than 100 law schools around the country have participated.
But as Jake Heller, Casetext’s CEO, points out in Above the Law, the massive amount of participation from law students represents more than the site’s popularity—it represents students doing good while learning. “WeCite represents a model for doing something that many law students struggle with: leaving time and energy to make the impact that inspired you to come to law school to begin with,” Heller writes.
As Heller notes, countless law students, past, present and future, go to law school with dreams of doing good for others and changing the world. Countless law students also get bogged down with the everyday struggles of law school and forget about this mission. For many, the social mission remains on hold as they graduate and take Big Law jobs to pay off enormous amounts of student debt.
“But you don’t necessarily need to make major sacrifices in your legal career to have an impact,” Heller writes. “This is especially true during law school, the first stage of that legal career.”
Heller says to do this by joining clinics or externships that serve underrepresented communities. Or, of course, make citations and case relationships on WeCite between classes or at lunch.
“WeCite has taken off at law schools because students are able to make a real impact on a longstanding problem in the legal community without having to trade off their other priorities,” Heller pens. “They WeCite for a few minutes between classes, or sit down for hours to make a larger contribution — which works well for people who are, like I was, both passionate about transforming the legal field and constrained by the demands of law school.”
The article reads as much like an advertisement as it does a piece of inspiration. But, sifting through the calls to action, there are some nuggets of helpful information—the main one being habit building. Dedicating just half an hour a day to doing good for someone else or society turns into a habit. And habits are good to form during law school. And that’s the beauty of WeCite, Heller claims.
Source: Above the Law
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