Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the Merlin Foundation.

About the Merlin Foundation

The Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation (“Merlin Foundation”) is a non-profit corporation in the process of registering as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. The Merlin Foundation team consists of lawyers, legal professionals and technologists with decades of experience building, supporting and using advanced legal technology.

The mission of the Merlin Foundation is to improve access to justice and make legal and regulatory compliance more efficient through the use of open source software and secure cloud computing. We will achieve our mission by:

  • Fostering worldwide education about the advantages of open source software and secure cloud computing;

  • Providing a central platform for legal professionals to collaborate on open source development projects; and

  • Distributing open source software under free licenses to individuals and organizations around the world for legal and regulatory compliance processes.

Our hope is to develop a central repository of legal open source projects and a home for legal technologists to collaborate on great software that will benefit the legal profession and our clients.

The Merlin Foundation has five goals:

  1. To teach legal professionals about the benefits and cost savings that come from using open source software in a secure cloud computing environment.

  2. To create a home for legal professionals and technologists interested in using open source software and cloud computing to improve access to justice and make legal operations and regulatory compliance more efficient and cost effective.

  3. To support developers building legal open source software through collaboration, mentorship, online resources and licensing assistance.

  4. To maintain a central repository of open source software for individuals and organizations who want to use it for legal and compliance functions.

  5. To publish a listing of individuals and organizations who develop legal open source software and support it through secure cloud computing.

These goals are ambitious but only represent the start of our ambitions.

We are focused on projects that further our mission to improve access to justice and make legal and regulatory compliance more efficient through the use of open source software and secure cloud computing. There are many other open source foundations out there for different types of open source projects.

The Merlin Foundation was incorporated by John Tredennick, who serves on a volunteer basis as Chairman of the Board and Executive Director. The intention is to hire a paid Executive Director on a part time basis to start when the organization is ready to support one. The Merlin Foundation is also guided by an Advisory Board made up of legal and technology leaders from all parts of the world. If you share our commitment for the mission and want to serve on the Advisory Board, please reach out and let us know.

A key principle of the Merlin Foundation is to be open and transparent in all things. You can find a number of helpful links to key Merlin documents on the Legal page.

Everybody is welcome to participate according to their interests and skills. The Merlin Foundation seeks people of all backgrounds regardless of sex, race, nationality, creed or political belief so long as they are willing to subscribe to our principles and code of conduct. You can participate at a variety of levels from supporting member to contributor and project manager. You can see more about these options here.

Membership is free but we are happy to accept donations if you wish to contribute. We can accept donations right on the site. We are in the process of filing for 501(c)(3) recognition from the IRS and will advise when it is received.

The Merlin Foundation will gratefully accept support to help us carry out our mission. We are currently building out our sponsorship program will can include contributions of services or monetary support. Contact us to get involved or share your ideas.

Yes. Within reason, we have excellent speakers who would be happy to talk about the foundation and why open source and secure cloud computing is important to the legal community and our mission to improve access to justice. For in person visits, we ask that you make a donation to the Merlin Foundation at least equal to the cost of travel, meals and lodging. If you want to make a further donation in appreciation of the talk, that would be welcome too.

If you have other questions about the Merlin Foundation, please contact us.

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