We believe that science and technology are advanced through the ongoing, free dissemination of research and best practices. Zuva, in part, has been built on the work of others and as technology leaders, we continue the tradition of sharing our research.

The Utility of Context When Extracting Entities From Legal Documents

When reviewing documents for legal tasks such as Mergers and Acquisitions, granular information (such as start dates and exit clauses) need to be identified and extracted. Inspired by previous work in Named Entity Recognition (NER), we investigate how NER techniques can be leveraged to aid lawyers in this review process. Due to the extremely low prevalence of target information in legal documents, we find that the traditional approach of tagging all sentences in a document is inferior, in both effectiveness and data required to train and predict, to using a first-pass layer to identify sentences that are likely to contain the relevant information and then running the more traditional sentence-level sequence tagging.

Dancing with the AI Devil: Investigating the Partnership Between Lawyers and AI

As professional users interact with more AI-enabled tools, it has become increasingly important to understand how their work and behaviour are affected by such tools. In this paper, we present the insights that we have gleaned from a qualitative user study conducted with nine of our software’s users who are all legal professionals. We find that as our participants become more accustomed to the system they begin to subtly alter their behaviours and interactions with the system.

Spectator: An Open Source Document Viewer

Many information retrieval tasks require viewing documents in some manner, whether this is to view information in context or to provide annotations for some downstream task (e.g., evaluation or system training). Building a high-quality document viewer often exceeds the resources of many researchers and so, in this paper, we describe the design and architecture of our new open-source document viewer, Spectator. In particular, we provide a look into the algorithmic details of how Spectator accomplishes tasks like mapping annotations back to the canonical document.

On Tradeoffs Between Document Signature Methods for a Legal Due Diligence Corpus

While document signatures are a well established tool in IR, they have primarily been investigated in the context of web documents. Legal due diligence documents, by their nature, have more similar structure and language than we may expect out of standard web collections. Moreover, many due diligence systems strive to facilitate real-time interactions and so time from document ingestion to availability should be minimal. Such constraints further limit the possible solution space when identifying near duplicate documents.

A Reliable and Accurate Multiple Choice Question Answering System for Due Diligence

The problem of answering multiple choice questions, based on the content of documents has been studied extensively in the machine learning literature. We pose the due diligence problem, where lawyers study legal contracts and assess the risk in potential mergers and acquisitions, as a multiple choice question answering problem, based on the text of the contract. Existing frameworks for question answering are not suitable for this task, due to the inherent scarcity and imbalance in the legal contract data available for training.

On Interpretability and Feature Representations: An Analysis of the Sentiment Neuron

We are concerned with investigating the apparent effective-ness of Radford et al.’s “Sentiment Neuron,” which they claim encapsulates sufficient knowledge to accurately predict sentiment in reviews. In our analysis of the Sentiment Neuron, we find that the removal of the neuron only marginally affects a classifier’s ability to detect and label sentiment and may even improve performance. Moreover, the effectiveness of the Sentiment Neuron can be surpassed by simply using 100 random neurons as features to the same classifier.

From Bubbles to Lists: Designing Clustering for Due Diligence

In due diligence, lawyers are tasked with reviewing a large set of legal documents to identify documents and portions thereof that may be problematic for a merger or acquisition. In an effort to aid users to review more efficiently, we sought to determine how document-level clustering may help users of a due diligence system during their workflow. Following an iterative design methodology, we conducted several user studies with different versions of a document-level clustering feature consisting of three distinct phases and 27 users.

Variations in Assessor Agreement in Due Diligence

In legal due diligence, lawyers identify a variety of topic instances in a company’s contracts that may pose risk during a transaction. In this paper, we present a study of 9 lawyers conducting a simulated review of 50 contracts for five topics. We find that lawyers agree on the general location of relevant material at a higher rate than in other assessor agreement studies, but they do not entirely agree on the extent of the relevant material.

A Dataset and an Examination of Identifying Passages for Due Diligence

We present and formalize the due diligence problem, where lawyers extract data from legal documents to assess risk in a potential merger or acquisition, as an information retrieval task. Furthermore, we describe the creation and annotation of a document collection for the due diligence problem that will foster research in this area. This dataset comprises 50 topics over 4,412 documents and ~15 million sentences and is a subset of our own internal training data.