Clio’s Cloud Conference will kick off in Chicago next week. As part of our coverage of the conference, we’ll be featuring quick interviews with some of the speakers this week. 

First up, Sarah Glassmeyer, a librarian, lawyer, and advocate of justice. Currently working as a research fellow in the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, she is a passionate believer in the idea that access to information is access to justice, and has done research covering the accessibility and openness of law on the Internet and seeks to find ways to make it more useable to the average citizen.Sarah Glassmeyer text

How did you first get into law, specifically, access to justice?

By accident, really.  I’m one of those people that went to law school for all the wrong reasons – I had always done well in school, I had a general urge to do some thing “useful” in life, and I had no idea what being a lawyer really meant.  I became a librarian after law school and I really didn’t get into Access to Justice until then.  I was working with the people that fell through the Access to Justice gap and saw first hand the failures of the system.

What makes you so passionate about it?

How can you not be passionate about making the lives of others better?  Truth be told, I’m essentially a pretty lazy person.  It take a lot to get me riled up about something.  My passion for my particular corner of Access to Justice – which is Access to Legal Information – is brought on by the fact that it’s relatively easy to solve.  A few decisions made by the handful of people in charge of publishing primary legal information are the only thing standing in the way of really making a dent in Access to Justice. Also, I grew up on a farm in Appalachia.  The people getting left out of the justice system are My People.  I feel like I have been granted a lot of blessings in being able to break out of those cycles of poverty and ignorance that affect many of the people I grew up with and I should use these gifts to help others.

What’s the greatest challenge in your work today?

I just wrapped up a fellowship at Harvard, so I’m currently job seeking. I guess my biggest challenge is to find a new gig that will allow me to continue to work for Access to Justice while paying my mortgage.  The greatest challenge in Access to Justice/Access to Information is getting people aware that there is a problem. People look at information access the way they do utilities like running water or electricity.  It’s a modern convenience that’s really easy to take for granted unless you can no longer afford it.

What’s the one single message you’ll want to leave with the Clio Con audience members?

The problems are immense, but they’re also immensely solvable.