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FindLaw Turns 20!

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 01, 2016 5:58 AM

Time flies when you're having fun.

Of all the clichés I could think of about the passage of time, this is the one that I think best describes just how the little start-up that could -- -- reached its 20th anniversary. Happy Birthday FindLaw. Next year you can drink!

See, fun. That is part of our ethos here at FindLaw, even though we are all grown up. We work every day to fulfill our mission to our users and bring them solutions to their legal problems, and we think you can tell if we love what we do. We think you can tell if we really believe that bringing people free, accurate, useful information and resources is important and yes, even fun. But how did we get here? Here's the story.

Once Upon a Time in the Valley ...

... There was an apartment. This is the FindLaw version of "the garage." FindLaw began with two attorneys in an apartment, with an idea. In 1995, FindLaw's founders put together a list of online resources for a group of law librarians in Northern California. The response to this idea was so good they decided to put the information out to the wider Web. And FindLaw was born.

After a formal launch in January of 1996, FindLaw grew that initial list to a mix of cases, statutes, legal news, a lawyer directory, an online career center and community offerings like mailing lists and message boards, including the famous "Greedy Associates." Anyone who goes back to the '90s in the Valley remembers Greedy Associates. It's now one of our most popular blogs for Legal Professionals.

Legal publishing powerhouse West (a part of Thomson Corp since 1996) snapped up FindLaw and its 55 employees in 2001. FindLaw then expanded offerings to include law firm online marketing business and client development solutions. Thomson in turn joined forces with Reuters in 2008, resulting in The Answer Company: Thomson Reuters.

So How Is That Fun?

Glad you asked. Like FindLaw, TR is a company with a sense of mission. That made it a good fit for those of us who love to come to work every day with a purpose. Our purpose is to help people who have legal problems find a solution for those problems. And we do this in the smartest, most innovative and creative ways we can think of.

Can we hook you up with a free consult for your slip and fall? Yep. Can we help you find an attorney who knows about pet custody after divorce in Michigan? Yep. Can we make you laugh about your horrid first week at the firm? You know it. Can we make your research project for that impoverished non-profit a bit easier with free access to cases and codes? You bet. Can we even help you find a legal job that might actually pay something? We can do that too. Total fun.

My Next 20 Years

What have you done for me lately (where lately < one nanosecond) is the Silicon Valley mantra. That is the kind of drive that keeps us looking forward, not just back at all we have done. So we are working on even more projects to help attorneys find the clients who need them and clients get the help they want. For instance, we are going to help our larger business unit in their goal of changing the way attorneys practice law. Here on the home front, we are going to make sure our content, Directory, and other consumer products are the best they can be, with constant updates, changes, and additions. It's a pretty good way to earn a paycheck.

Sign me up for another 20 years.

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