The Constitute Project – The World’s Constitutions to Read, Search, and Compare

consititute

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Deep Neural Networks are Easily Fooled: High Confidence Predictions for Unrecognizable Images (via arXiv)

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The Next Era of Designers Will Use Data as Their Medium (via Wired)

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Simulation and Data Reveal Best Way to Board an Airplane
(via Vox)

From the story in Vox … “Surprisingly, just letting people get on the plane in an order unrelated to their seats leads to slightly faster boarding times than the standard method.”

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Using R for Quantitative Methods for Lawyers and Legal Analytics Courses (Professors Katz + Bommarito)

While its performance is sometimes problematic for some extremely large data problems, R (with R studio frontend) is the data science language du jour for many small to medium data problems. Among other things, R is great because it is open source, hyper customizable with thousands of packages available to be loaded for a specific problem.

While Python and SQL are also important parts of the overall data science toolkit, we use R as our preferred language in both Quantitative Methods for Lawyers (3 credits) as well as in our Legal Analytics course (2 credits).  We have found that students who are diligent can make amazing strides in a relatively short amount of time.  For example, see this final project by Pat Ellis from last year’s course.

Here are some introductory resources that we have developed to get folks started: Loading R and R Studio
R Boot Camp – Part 1 – Loading Datasets and Basic Data Exploration
Data Cleaning and Additional Resources
R Boot Camp – Part 2 – Statistical Tests Using R
Basic Data Visualization in R
Scatter Plots, Covariance, Correlation Using R
Intro to Regression Analysis Using R

Over the balance of the 2014-2015 academic year, Mike and I will be introducing a variety of new things to the quantitative sequence including dplyR, etc. … more to come …

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New Company Developing a Market for the Crowdfunding of Lawsuits

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 6.50.23 PM This is pretty interesting and sort of highlights the serious need to have better forecasting models (see our interest in topics such as quantitative legal prediction, legal analytics, etc.)

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The Three Forms of (Legal) Prediction: Experts, Crowds and Algorithms (Presentation at the Chicago Legal Innovation and Technology MEETUP)

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Why The Best Supreme Court Predictor In The World Is Some Random Guy In Queens (via 538.com)

SCOTUS_538Nice coverage of the research in this area and our multi year research agenda attached to forecasting using the three known streams of intelligence (experts, crowds & algorithms).

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Katz + Bommarito Joining Forces for Joint Research Activities with CodeX – Stanford Center for Legal Informatics

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 7.08.57 PMWhile our primary home will remain here MSU Law, Mike Bommarito and I are excited to be joining up with the good folks at CodeX – Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. Based upon our shared interests, we plan to work together on some joint research activities with some of the many talented individuals in the Stanford CodeX ecosystem.  I will be joining CodeX as an External Affiliated Faculty and Mike will be joining as a CodeX Fellow.  We are very excited to push forward together in the short, medium and long term!

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Innovation and Emerging Legal Technology (Slides by Ron Dolin from Stanford Center on the Legal Profession)

This past Thursday Ron Dolin and I spole on a panel at the 19th Annual Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute Law Firm Leaders Forum. Above are Ron’s slides which many of you might find interesting. Below is a modified version of my presentation Five Observations Regarding Technology and the Legal Industry (which I gave at the LegalWeek Corporate Counsel Forum last month).

Thanks to Ralph Baxter (Chairman Emeritus @ Orrick) for inviting me to present to this extremely accomplished group of AMLaw 200 managing partners.

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Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court to Rule APIs Can’t Be Copyrighted (via EFF)

EFF_APII have filed an Amicus Brief (of sorts) via Facebook …
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Organizing the Chicago Legal Innovation and Technology Meetup – (First Meeting Nov. 19th @ 5:30pm)

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The 19th Annual Law Firm Leaders Forum – NYC (Presented by Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute)

Thomson Reuters Legal Executive InstituteTomorrow I will be speaking at the 19th Annual Law Firm Leaders Forum in NYC (Presented by Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute).  This annual event draws a large number of leaders from the AMLaw 200 law firms. The focus of my panel will be the Emerging Role of Technology in the Law Firm Model.  I am joined by a world class faculty which includes representatives from Law firms, In House, Legal Tech and the Legal Academy, etc.

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Law is Code: A Software Engineering Approach to Analyzing the United States Code

Law is CodeWilliam Li, Pablo Azar, David Larochelle, Phil Hill & Andrew Lo, Law is Code: A Software Engineering Approach to Analyzing the United States Code

ABSTRACT:  “The agglomeration of rules and regulations over time has produced a body of legal code that no single individual can fully comprehend. This complexity produces inefficiencies, makes the processes of understanding and changing the law difficult, and frustrates the fundamental principle that the law should provide fair notice to the governed. In this article, we take a quantitative, unbiased, and software-engineering approach to analyze the evolution of the United States Code from 1926 to today. Software engineers frequently face the challenge of understanding and managing large, structured collections of instructions, directives, and conditional statements, and we adapt and apply their techniques to the U.S. Code over time. Our work produces insights into the structure of the U.S. Code as a whole, its strengths and vulnerabilities, and new ways of thinking about individual laws. For example, we identify the first appearance and spread of important terms in the U.S. Code like “whistleblower” and “privacy.” We also analyze and visualize the network structure of certain substantial reforms, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and show how the interconnections of references can increase complexity and create the potential for unintended consequences. Our work is a timely illustration of computational approaches to law as the legal profession embraces technology for scholarship, to increase efficiency, and to improve access to justice.”

Mike and I are excited to see this paper as it is related to two of our prior papers:
Daniel Martin Katz & Michael J. Bommarito II, Measuring the Complexity of the Law: The United States Code, 22 Journal of Artificial Intelligence & Law 1 (2014)

Michael J. Bommarito II & Daniel Martin Katz , A Mathematical Approach to the Study of the United States Code, 389 Physica A 4195 (2010)

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The MIT School of Law? A Perspective on Legal Education in the 21st Century (Forthcoming in Illinois Law Review)

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.58.06 PMABSTRACT:  “Despite some of the blustery rhetoric attendant to the ongoing market transition, lawyers and the market for legal services are not going away. Lawyers serve integral roles in a wide variety of social and political systems. Their work supports the proper functioning of markets and helps individuals and organizations vindicate their respective rights. At the same time, the processes associated with completing their work—as well as the contours of their respective expertise and judgment—are already changing. These changes are being driven by a number of economic and technological trends, many of which Larry Ribstein identified in a series of important articles published in the years before his untimely death.

This Essay is offered as part of a symposium honoring the work of the late Larry Ribstein. It is a thought exercise about a hypothetical MIT School of Law—an institution with the type of curriculum that might help prepare students to have the appropriate level of substantive legal expertise and other useful skills that will allow them to deliver value to their clients as well as develop and administer the rules governing markets, politics, and society as we move further into the 21st Century. It is a blueprint based upon the best available information, and like any other plan of action would need to be modified to take stock of shifting realities over time. It is not a solution for all of legal education. Instead, it is a targeted description of an institution and its substantive content that could compete very favorably in the existing and future market. It is a depiction of an institution whose students would arguably be in high demand. It is a high-level sketch of an institution that would be substantively relevant, appropriately practical, theoretically rigorous and world class.

Part I offers an introduction to the question. Part II sets the stage by highlighting several recent trends in the market for legal services. Taking stock of those trends, Part III highlights an alternative paradigm for legal education and describes the polytechnic style of legal education that students might obtain at an MIT School of Law. Part IV carries through on that basic thought experiment by describing the process of attracting, training, and placing students that would occur at MIT Law. Part V provides some concluding thoughts.”

Available at: Daniel Martin Katz, The MIT School of Law: A Perspective on Legal Education in the 21st Century, 2014 Illinois L. Rev (Forthcoming)

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Announcing the All New LexPredict FantasySCOTUS – (Sponsored By Thomson Reuters)

LexPredictToday I am excited to announce that LexPredict has now launched the all new FantasySCOTUS under the direction of Michael J. Bommarito II, Daniel Martin Katz and Josh Blackman.

FantasySCOTUS is the leading Supreme Court Fantasy League. Thousands of attorneys, law students, and other avid Supreme Court followers make predictions about cases before the Supreme Court. Participation is FREE and Supreme Court geeks can win cash prizes up to $10,000 (many other prizes as well — thanks to the generous support of Thomson Reuters).

We hope to launch additional functionality soon but we are now live and ready to accept your predictions for the 2014-2015 Supreme Court Term!

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The Utility of Text: The Case of Amicus Briefs and the Supreme Court (by Yanchuan Sim, Bryan Routledge & Noah A. Smith)

From the Abstract: “We explore the idea that authoring a piece of text is an act of maximizing one’s expected utility. To make this idea concrete, we consider the societally important decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. Extensive past work in quantitative political science provides a framework for empirically modeling the decisions of justices and how they relate to text. We incorporate into such a model texts authored by amici curiae (“friends of the court” separate from the litigants) who seek to weigh in on the decision, then explicitly model their goals in a random utility model. We demonstrate the benefits of this approach in improved vote prediction and the ability to perform counterfactual analysis.  (HT: R.C. Richards from Legal Informatics Blog)

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