Skip main navigation

Week 3 Reading

In this article, Kevin D. Ashley will discusses legal reasoning and training.
a person and a laptop
© Kevin D. Ashley
In the upcoming steps, we will talk about legal reasoning and training data. Before we start this, please read the abstract below taken from the article: “Automatically Extracting Meaning From Legal Texts: Opportunities and Challenges”.


This paper surveys three basic legal-text analytic techniques—ML, network diagrams, and question answering (QA)—and illustrates how some currently available commercial applications employ or combine them. It then examines how well the text analytic techniques can answer legal questions given some inherent limitations in the technology. In more detail, ML refers to computer programs that use statistical means to induce or learn models from data with which they can classify a document or predict an outcome for a new case. Predictive coding techniques employed in e-discovery have already introduced ML from text into law firms. Network diagrams graph the relations between objects and can assist in making legal information retrieval smarter. The objects may be legal cases, statutory provisions, reference concepts, or communications nodes. Finally, QA systems search large text collections to locate texts or parts of texts that directly answer a user’s question. IBM’s Jeopardy-game-winning Watson program is, perhaps, the most famous example of a QA system.

If you are interested in this topic, you can get the full article below.

Note that while reading the full article is optional, we recommend that you read pages 1121, 1122, 1123, 1127, 1134, 1135, 1137, 1138, 1139, as they will help you to answer questions in the later quiz and final test in the course.

Kevin D. Ashley, Automatically Extracting Meaning from Legal Texts: Opportunities and Challenges, 35 GA. ST. U. L. REV. 1117 (2019), available at

© Kevin D. Ashley
This article is from the free online

AI for Legal Professionals (II): Tools for Lawyers

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education