free information, because information is not free

So the whirlwind trip back to Philadelphia is over.  It was definitely fun; still might end up being ill-advised.  The WILU presentation is looming large now, and we’ll see how much I end up missing that 36 hours.

We walked up to see the hullaboo that is alumni weekend/ reunions at my alma mater, and while we were there we came upon the alumni edition of the student newspaper, which featured this story below the fold on the front page — LexisNexis offers free access to law school grads pursuing nonprofit work.

The program in question is called the ASPIRE program – Associates Serving Public Interests Research.  This sounds like something that might have been around forever – a corporate donation to public good work type of thing, but it’s actually in response to the current economy, which I thought was really interesting.  First, because being past the friends graduating from law school phase of my life, this is an impact of the current situation I didn’t know about –

Almost a fifth of Penn Law’s graduating class had full-time post-graduate plans secured – only to have their hiring firm delay start dates and withhold expected salaries.

Since a large number of firms are recommending, or even requiring, that graduates pursue nonprofit work during the deferred interim, a number of graduates are finding themselves without adequate resources.

It’s also interesting to me because of what it says about the significance of information, and access to information.  Obviously, keeping law school grads addicted to the kind of access, convenience and research power that LexisNexis affords has an economic upside for this company — I regularly tell students that I am going to have to stay in academia my whole life because I don’t want to give up that access —  but that doesn’t change the fact that doing research with access to LexisNexis is a different thing than doing research without that access, one thing the haves have is this kind of access, and this makes me think more about that.

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