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CS 204: Legal Informatics

Legal informatics based on representation of regulations in computable form. Encoding regulations facilitate creation of legal information systems with significant practical value. Convergence of technological trends, growth of the Internet, advent of semantic web technology, and progress in computational logic make computational law prospects better. Topics: current state of computational law, prospects and problems, philosophical and legal implications. This course is *Cross* listed with LAW 4019. Prerequisite: basic concepts of programming.
Terms: Spr | Units: 2-3 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

LAW 4019: Legal Informatics

(Formerly Law 729) The management of information is crucial to the proper functioning of any legal system. A good legal system relies on information about the world itself (such as evidence of who did what and when) as well as more purely legal information (such as court rulings, statutes, contracts, and so forth). Legal Informatics is the theory and practice of managing such information. It covers both legal theory and information theory. It also covers elements of general information processing technology as well as applications of that technology in the administration of law. While the concept of Legal Informatics is not new, its importance is greater than ever due to recent technological advances - including progress on mechanized legal information processing, the growth of the Internet, and the proliferation of autonomous systems (such as self-driving cars and robots), as well as globalization of the legal industry. The upshot of these advances is the emergence of practical legal technology that is qualitatively superior to what has gone before. This technology is capable of dramatically changing the legal profession, improving the quality and efficiency of legal services and disrupting the way law firms do business. The technology is also capable of popularizing the law - bringing legal understanding and legal tools to everyone in society, not just legal professionals. Through this class students gain an understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities the legal system and the legal industry are facing in light of this tech-driven transformation of our legal system, and learn about innovative new approaches seeking to address them. Particular attention will be given to Computational Law, the branch of Legal Informatics concerned with the mechanization of legal analysis. Expert guest-speakers from academia and industry will provide for a diverse and interdisciplinary experience. Successful legal technology entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the legal technology space will provide a practical angle to the discussion. Class sessions include: Legal Document Search and Legal Document Analysis, Consumer Law, Computational Law and Logical Worksheets, Dialog Systems / Expert Systems, Predictive Analytics, Legal Ethics and the Unauthorized Practice of Law. Grades will be based on class participation (25% of grade) and one of the following two options: Option 1 (section 01): Legal Technology Project (individual or group; 75% of grade). Students can identify a legal information problem and develop a legal tech project, individually or as part of a team, to address the problem by preparing a technical demonstration project/prototype and in form of a written report about the project. Students will be asked to build their own system using Neota Logic,, or Stanford's Worksheets system, Option 2 (section 02): Independent Research Paper (individual; 75% of grade). Students shall write an independent research paper on a legal informatics topic. You are invited to propose a topic and a working title and to discuss your topic ideas with us. The topic and the working title of the research paper must be approved by the instructors, before you start your detailed research. Independent research papers require by definition that students include other research materials besides the readings for class. Students electing option 2 will receive Research (R) credit. Students taking the course for R credit can take the course for either 2 or 3 units, depending on the length of the research paper. If you wish to earn 2 units, the research paper shall be at least 18 pages in length (double-spaced, 12-point font size, 1-inch margins). If you wish to earn 3 units, the research paper shall be at least 26 pages in length (double-spaced, 12-point font size, 1-inch margins). You can find examples of papers written by last year's students on the CodeX website at Each student can choose one of the above two options, whichever he/she prefers. After the term begins, students electing option 2 can transfer from section (01) into section (02), with consent of the instructor. During the course, students will be asked to provide a brief description of their project. There are no prerequisites for this class. Elements used in grading: Class Participation, Attendance, Legal Technology Project, Research Paper. Cross-listed with Computer Science (CS 204).
Terms: Spr | Units: 2-3 | Grading: Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
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