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.
Who’s on JURIST’s Board of Directors?
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.
Professor Bernard J. Hibbitts is the Board’s Chairman and a Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, he studied law at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, at Dalhousie University, at the University of Toronto and at Harvard, where he was Associate Editor of the Harvard International Law Journal. He clerked for Justice Gerald Le Dain of the Supreme Court of Canada. Prof. Hibbitts founded JURIST as a personal project in 1996.
Professor Toni R. Locy is an Associate Professor of Journalism at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. For 25 years, she reported for many of the nation’s largest news outlets. She covered the US Supreme Court for AP, federal courts in Washington, DC for the Washington Post and the Massachusetts State House for the Boston Globe. She also worked on an investigative team at US News & World Report. While earning an MSL degree at Pitt Law, she served as a student editor for JURIST. She is the author of Covering America’s Courts: A Clash of Rights, a journalism textbook on covering the courts and the law. Prof. Locy previously served as the Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Legal Reporting at Washington & Lee from 2008 to 2013, and the Shott Chair of Journalism at the West Virginia University School of Journalism from 2007 to 2008.
Devin S. Montgomery is an independent project management consultant in Pittsburgh. He is also the owner of Boilerwerks LLC, an outdoor equipment company. Mr. Montgomery served as Managing Editor for JURIST while at Pitt Law and currently serves as Board Treasurer. He received his BA in Philosophy from West Virginia University in 2004 and both a JD and an M.BA from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011.
Steven M. Pacillio is a principal at the Omnis Law Group, LLC with offices in Media, Philadelphia, West Chester and Plymouth Meeting, PA. His firm represents individual clients, businesses and large governmental agencies and handles all phases of representation. Mr. Pacillio was JURIST’s first student staff member during his time at Pitt Law. He received his BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, and his JD from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999.
Glenn E. Plosa is a senior attorney at The Zinser Law Firm, PC in Nashville, Tennessee. His practice is focused on labor and employment law from the management perspective. He has counseled clients on all aspects of employee relations, arbitrated grievances and successfully negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements. Mr. Plosa served as a JURIST staff member while at Pitt Law. He received his BA from Vanderbilt University in 1997 and his JD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000.
Joshua T. Sanders is a former computer engineer and recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is involved with Wisconsin politics and served as a web developer for JURIST while at Pitt Law. He advises the Board on technical issues.
Matthew E. Shames is an attorney at Cohen & Grigsby, PC in Pittsburgh. He concentrates his practice on real estate development and financing, emerging business technologies and general transactional and corporate matters. In addition to his practice with Cohen & Grigsby, Mr. Shames serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. During law school, he was a senior editor for JURIST and Editor-in-Chief of the law review. Mr. Shames also served as JURIST’s Executive Director from August 2011 until December 2012. He received his BA in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990, and his JD magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005.
Tim Stanley is the CEO of Justia Inc., which provides free legal information for the online community. Based in San Francisco, California, Justia is involved in online public interest projects, legal aid, civil rights, free legal and consumer information, and educational projects. Justia also provides JURIST’s server and houses it at a facility in California. Mr. Stanley was the founder of FindLaw and has also served on the Board of Directors for Nolo. He received his BA and M.S. from Stanford University prior to attending the University of Michigan Law School and Harvard Law School.
How is JURIST funded?
JURIST has four main sources of funding:
- 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.
Where JURIST does not currently get its funding:
- Paywall/Subscription: JURIST was founded with a mission to provide real-time legal news and reasoned analysis to the world for free. As such, we do not charge to read JURIST.
- Government Agencies: Although we are affiliated with a public university, JURIST does not receive any direct support from any government agencies or programs
- Corporate Sponsorship: At present, JURIST is not sponsored by any law firms, companies, or other private interests.
How much do you spend to run JURIST?
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.
Can I see your public filings?
Of course! JURIST is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and files reports about our finances annually with the US Internal Revenue Service.
I’ve still got some questions. Who can I talk to about all this?
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.