University of Ottawa launches legal technology lab

Lab’s research activities span areas of legal text mining and automation of legal processes

University of Ottawa launches legal technology lab
Dr. Wolfgang Alschner

The University of Ottawa recently launched a Legal Technology Lab at the school’s Centre for Law, Technology and Society.

“By treating legal texts as data, thousands of contracts or judgements can be investigated, categorized and analyzed within seconds, making law more accessible to everyone,” stated the news release.

The lab is involved in a wide array of activities, such as researching how to automate legal processes and how to improve legal text mining, assisting in the development of legal technology applications, advancing legal technology education, serving as an incubator to encourage legal technology entrepreneurship and supporting firms, legal technology companies and researchers.

The lab recently collaborated on a project with the university’s Public Law Centre, which will utilize legal data analytics to determine how Supreme Court of Canada decisions deal with equality claims.

The lab aims to come up with technology-based solutions which will address the challenges of lawyers in their work, of citizens in seeking access to justice, of firms in meeting the demands for cost-effective services and of the legal sector in Canada, which is changing and becoming more complex.

The lab, which is an interdisciplinary effort of the university’s Faculties of Law and Engineering, will complement the current efforts of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society and will be supported by students from diverse backgrounds. The Canada Foundation for Innovation funded the lab.

Dr. Wolfgang Alschner of the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, leads the team with his experience in the application of data analytics to the empirical study of law, while Dr. Diana Inkpen of the Faculty of Engineering, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, co-leads the team.

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