02 JUNE 2023 / CODE
The Open Legal Lab Legal 2023 brought together legal professionals, developers, and AI experts to collaborate on innovative legal technology projects. Like last years event, the OLL 2023 showcased the potential for advancements in the legal sector and fostered a community committed to driving progress in legal technology.
On April 30th and May 1st, 2023, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Open Legal Lab, a legal hackathon event designed to bring together legal professionals, software developers, and other tech enthusiasts to collaborate on innovative legal technology projects. The event took place over two days and featured a variety of challenges aimed at addressing some of the most pressing obstacles in the legal field. In this blog post, I will give an overview of the hackathon, discuss some of the challenges that were presented, and share my experience working on the LegalInstruct project. This is not an exhaustive account of all the challenges, but rather a reflection on some of the innovative projects undertaken during the event I want to highlight.
The Open Legal Lab Legal Hackathon 2023 was an event comprising of multiple challenges related to the legal sector. The event aimed to encourage collaboration among legal professionals, developers, and AI experts to advance the use of technology in legal practices. Several fascinating challenges were proposed, and participants had the opportunity to work on these projects and present their ideas and solutions over the course of the hackathon.
One of the challenges that caught my attention was the creation of a Shiny app called the Federal Supreme Court Data viewer. This interactive application enables users to perform simple quantitative analyses of the Federal Supreme Court jurisprudence documented in the SCD without any prerequisite programming knowledge. The app garnered a lot of interest on LinkedIn and has the potential to provide valuable insights to legal professionals.
Another innovative challenge was SciGate, which aimed to create a unified search entry point for the highly fragmented landscape of legal databases. By serving as a centralized, accessible one-stop shop for legal data, SciGate can significantly streamline the research and information retrieval process for legal professionals.
For this hackathon, I proposed and worked on the LegalInstruct challenge. The goal of this project was to create an openly available dataset called the Legal-Instruct dataset, which would be used to fine-tune large language models (LLMs) specifically for the legal field. The structured and organized dataset, containing legal instructions, was inspired by the Alpaca dataset and aimed to make it easier for LLMs to understand legal language and tasks.
Along with my team, we trained various models on 10,000 data points, many of which were generated automatically using decisions from the Supreme Court of Switzerland. However, our results were not as promising as we had hoped due to limitations in training time, computing power, and the need to use smaller models with limited token lengths. Despite the initial setbacks, I am continuing to work on this project and remain optimistic about showing improved results in the future.
The Open Legal Lab Legal Hackathon 2023 was an inspiring and enriching event that showcased the power of collaboration between legal, tech, and AI professionals. The challenges presented at the event demonstrated the potential for significant advancements in the legal sector, with projects like the Federal Supreme Court Data viewer, SciGate, and LegalInstruct paving the way for a more efficient and accessible future in the world of legal technology.
I was grateful to be part of such an incredible event and community and to contribute to the LegalInstruct challenge. I eagerly look forward to participating in future events and seeing what innovative solutions we can come up with together to further strengthen the legal sector.