Legal Informatics – Cambridge University Press (2021)

We are very pleased to announce pre-orders for “Legal Informatics” (Cambridge University Press – (Coming in early 2021) are now available on Amazon / Cambridge. Our book is designed to be an introduction to the academic discipline underlying the economic and technological transformation of the legal industry. Legal Informatics features contributions from more than two dozen academic and industry experts, chapters cover the history and principles of legal informatics and background technical concepts – including natural language processing and distributed ledger technology. The volume also presents real-world case studies that offer important insights into document review, due diligence, compliance, case prediction, billing, negotiation and settlement, contracting, patent management, legal research, and online dispute resolution. It is hardbound book ~600 pages in length.

#LegalInformatics #LegalTech #LegalInnovation #MachineLearning #NetworkScience #NLP #LegalScience

Data Science & Machine Learning in Containers (or Ad Hoc vs Enterprise Grade Data Products)

As Mike Bommarito, Eric Detterman and I often discuss – one of the consistent themes in the Legal Tech / Legal Analytics space is the disconnect between what might be called ‘ad hoc’ data science and proper enterprise grade products / approaches (whether B2B or B2C). As part of the organizational maturity process, many organizations who decide that they must ‘get data driven’ start with an ad hoc approach to leveraging doing data science. Over time, it then becomes apparent that a more fundamental and robust undertaking is what is actually needed.

Similar dynamics also exist within the academy as well. Many of the code repos out there would not be considered proper production grade data science pipelines.  Among other things, this makes deployment, replication and/or extension quite difficult.

Anyway, this blog post from outlines just some of these issues.

Complex Societies and the Growth of the Law – Published Today in Scientific Reports (Nature Research)

Access the Full Article via Scientific Reports (Nature Research). This article is part of a special compilation for Scientific Reports devoted to Social Physics.

ABSTRACT: While many informal factors influence how people interact, modern societies rely upon law as a primary mechanism to formally control human behaviour. How legal rules impact societal development depends on the interplay between two types of actors: the people who create the rules and the people to which the rules potentially apply. We hypothesise that an increasingly diverse and interconnected society might create increasingly diverse and interconnected rules, and assert that legal networks provide a useful lens through which to observe the interaction between law and society. To evaluate these propositions, we present a novel and generalizable model of statutory materials as multidimensional, time-evolving document networks. Applying this model to the federal legislation of the United States and Germany, we find impressive expansion in the size and complexity of laws over the past two and a half decades. We investigate the sources of this development using methods from network science and natural language processing. To allow for cross-country comparisons over time, based on the explicit cross-references between legal rules, we algorithmically reorganise the legislative materials of the United States and Germany into cluster families that reflect legal topics. This reorganisation reveals that the main driver behind the growth of the law in both jurisdictions is the expansion of the welfare state, backed by an expansion of the tax state. Hence, our findings highlight the power of document network analysis for understanding the evolution of law and its relationship with society.

It has been a real pleasure to work with my transatlantic colleagues Corinna Coupette (Max Planck Institute for Informatics), Janis Beckedorf (Heidelberg University) and Dirk Hartung (Bucerius Law School). We have other projects also in the works — so stay tuned!

LEGAL-BERT: The Muppets Straight Out of Law School

ABSTRACT: “BERT has achieved impressive performance in several NLP tasks. However, there has been limited investigation on its adaptation guidelines in specialised domains. Here we focus on the legal domain, where we explore several approaches for applying BERT models to downstream legal tasks, evaluating on multiple datasets. Our findings indicate that the previous guidelines for pre-training and fine-tuning, often blindly followed, do not always generalize well in the legal domain. Thus we propose a systematic investigation of the available strategies when applying BERT in specialised domains. These are: (a) use the original BERT out of the box, (b) adapt BERT by additional pre-training on domain-specific corpora, and (c) pre-train BERT from scratch on domain-specific corpora. We also propose a broader hyper-parameter search space when fine-tuning for downstream tasks and we release LEGAL-BERT, a family of BERT models intended to assist legal NLP research, computational law, and legal technology applications.”

Congrats to all of the authors on their acceptance in the Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing Conference in November.

In the legal scientific community, we are witnessing increasing efforts to connect general purpose NLP Advances to domain specific applications within law. First, we saw Word Embeddings (i.e. word2Vec, etc.) now Transformers (i.e BERT, etc.). (And dont forget about GPT-3, etc.) Indeed, the development of LexNLP is centered around the idea that in order to have better performing Legal AI – we will need to connect broader NLP developments to the domain specific needs within law. Stay tuned!

NLLP Workshop 2020 — Legal Text Analysis Session — Video of Natural Legal Language Processing Workshop is Now on YouTube

NLLP Workshop 2020 Session 1: Legal Text Analysis — Video of Natural Legal Language Processing Workshop is Now on YouTube.  

Unfortunately, I was not available to participate as I was teaching class at the time of the workshop. However, Corinna Coupette and Dirk Hartung represented us well !  

Copy of the paper presented is available here —
arXiv LINK

Legal Data Science Research Group at Bucerius Law School

Spent the past few days here in Hamburg working with our multi-institutional scientific research team (Bucerius Law, Max Planck Institute, Chicago Kent Law, Heidelberg Law) … culminating in our presentation to the Bucerius Law Faculty today ! cc: Dirk Hartung Corinna Coupette Janis Beckedorf #legalinnovation #makelawbetter #legaltech #methods #legaldata #science #datascience #networkscience