As an independent non-profit performing a public service, JURIST relies on the contributions of our readers - people like you - who benefit from the unique mix of serious legal news and commentary that JURIST and its law student staffers provide 365 days of the year, for free.
Because your support is such a critical part of JURIST's success, we want you to know all about how JURIST operates, who is responsible for managing the service, and ultimately how we spend your contributions.
JURIST's Board of Directors is composed of practicing attorneys, academics, and digital media experts who use their expertise to guide JURIST's efforts. The majority of our Directors are also JURIST alumni, ranging from the first student staff member to recent graduates.
1) The University of Pittsburgh School of Law provides us with staff support in the form of a fully funded Research Director position. Pitt Law is also the physical home of JURIST, and the law school provides two offices for our Research Director and Executive Director.
2) The Institute for Law and Systems Research in San Diego, CA, provides JURIST with a cash contribution each fiscal year that has, to date, supported the Executive Director position and other operating expenses. The ILSR has provided critical support to JURIST for many years, and has begun a structured draw down of that support in an effort to encourage us to be self-sustaining.
3) While our physical home is in Pittsburgh, PA, our server is hosted and maintained free of charge by Justia in Mountain View, CA. We simply could not run a 24/7 international website without this critical technical support.
4) Readers like you! In the Spring of 2012, JURIST undertook its first annual public fundraising campaign. Like other non-profit media organizations, we hope to be able to support ourselves largely based on contributions from our readers. While we are still working toward that goal, direct financial support from our audience is our fastest growing and most important source of funding.
5) Limited commercial advertising. As of early 2014, we've begun defraying our declining institutional and individual support with some (hopefully minimially intrusive) banner ads. While we have traditionally been a proud ad-free site, economic realities have trumped our desire to keep your focus on the content.
We run a pretty tight ship. The vast majority of our staff are students who support JURIST on a purely volunteer basis. Obviously, this is an inexpensive way to staff an operation.
We do have two professional staff members. Jaclyn Belczyk, our Research Director, works full-time running the Paper Chase news service, as well as organizing staff meetings, social events and generally making JURIST a nice place to work. Our Acting Executive Director, Andrew Morgan, takes care of JURIST's corporate obligations, fundraising and outreach efforts. Due to funding constraints, the Executive Director is currently a half-time position. The combined salary expense for both of these positions is approximately $75,000 annually.
In addition to these personnel costs, JURIST also spends money on corporate necessities like insurance, accounting services and (in our line of work) cheap pizza.
Eventually, JURIST would like to add two professional positions (one to oversee the Commentary services and one technical manager), restore incidental funding for senior student staff, provide research assistant funding for our summer staff, and provide for a full-time Executive Director. Even in this scenario, JURIST's annual operating budget would be less than $250,000.
Of course! JURIST is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and files reports about our finances annually with the US Internal Revenue Service.
You're welcome to look at our Form 990 filings from 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Frankly, we'd be shocked if we answered everyone's questions in one fell swoop. If there's anything you want to know about how we run JURIST, feel free to send an email to Executive Director Andrew Morgan at executivedirector[at]jurist[dot]org.