According to dictionary.com, “crowdsource” means “to utilize (labor, information, etc.) contributed by the general public to (a project), often via the Internet and without compensation”. Wikipedia, probably the most well-known example of crowdsourcing, is a community of users that contributes encyclopedic type information to an online site. New to the crowdsourcing phenomenon are two legal research crowdsourced sites.
Need to know what the elements are of a cause of action for negligent misrepresentation? Mootus might be able to help! It is a great site for tapping the collective wisdom of the crowd on a variety of legal issues. Users post the questions and others weigh in with answers and cases to back up their arguments. Registration is required and basic access is free but only permits users to suggest a topic. Additional access levels require paid subscriptions.
Casetext bills itself as “a community of lawyers, law professors, and law students helping each other understand the law by annotating key legal documents.” The site provides a searchable database of cases, statutes, regulations and contracts and offers legal analysis and commentary from the community of contributors alongside the text of the documents. Currently it is completely free and according to the site plans to remain so.
Like any crowdsourced site, they will only thrive if people contribute to them. So why not jump into the fray by offering your ideas and thus help others reap the benefit of the collective knowledge of a community of legal professionals.