12 … Evidence-Based Jurisprudence meets Legal Linguistics. Unlikely Blends Made in Germany, BYU L. Rev. 43 (2018), im Erscheinen, gemeinsam mit Friedemann VogelGerman legal thinking is infamous for its hair-splittingly sophisticated dogmatism. Some of its other research contributions are frequently overlooked, both at home and abroad. Two such secondary streams recently coalesced into a new corpus-based research approach to legal practice: Empirical legal research (which had blossomed in Germany already by 1913) and research on language and law (following German pragmatist philosopher Wittgenstein 1922). The article introduces these research traditions in their current German incarnations (Evidence-Based Jurisprudence and Legal Linguistics) and shows how three common features – their proclaimed pragmatism, their skepticism towards legal authority and their big data strategy – inspired a new corpus-based research agenda: Computer Assisted Legal Linguistics (CAL²). This contribution introduces readers to academic Open Access publishing in German jurisprudence. This article was first published on the 25 October 2016, updated on the 25 October 2017.
10 … The Fabric of Language and Law. Towards an International Research Network for Computer Assisted Legal Linguistics (CAL²), JLL 6 (2017), S. 101109, gemeinsam mit Friedemann VogelLaw and language can be described as complex institutions with emergent properties, like intricate fabrics woven from single-colored fibers. This metaphor suggests to think of legal language in terms of “patterns”: Recurrent motifs in the fabric that the individual language user may not (and in most cases cannot) be aware of, though they explain the development of language more coherently than any narrative based on a priori rules. This perspective corresponds with the recent trend towards computer linguistics using “text as data”. To discuss how these approaches might impact research on the language of law, the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities hosted the first international conference on “The Fabric of Language and Law” from the perspective of legal corpus linguistics. Selected papers presented at this meeting in March 2016 were subsequently peer-reviewed and published in an eponymous volume of the International Journal of Language & Law (JLL), edited by the present authors as convenors of the conference. This special issue introduction elaborates on the topic of this meeting, summarizes its contributions, and contextualises the publications that resulted from it. The authors hope that this exchange, which has meanwhile been continued across the Atlantic, may help to establish an international network for research on Computer Assisted Legal Linguistics (CAL²).
9 … Computer-Assisted Legal Linguistics. Corpus Analysis as a New Tool for Legal Studies, Law & Soc. Inq. 42 (2017), S. 124, gemeinsam mit Friedemann Vogel / Isabelle GauerLaw exists solely in and through language. Nonetheless, systematical empirical analysis of legal language has been rare. Yet, the tides are turning: After judges at various courts (including the US Supreme Court) have championed a method of analysis called corpus linguistics, the Michigan Supreme Court held in June 2016 that this method “is consistent with how courts have understood statutory interpretation.” The court illustrated how corpus analysis can benefit legal casework, thus sanctifying twenty years of previous research into the matter. The present article synthesizes this research and introduces computer-assisted legal linguistics (CAL2) as a novel approach to legal studies. Computer-supported analysis of carefully preprocessed collections of legal texts lets lawyers analyze legal semantics, language, and sociosemiotics in different working contexts (judiciary, legislature, legal academia). The article introduces the interdisciplinary CAL2 research group (www.cal2.eu), its Corpus of German Law, and other related projects that make law more transparent.
8 … Computer Assisted Legal Linguistics (CAL²), S. 195198 in: Bex/Villata (Hrsg.), Legal Knowledge and Information Systems. JURIX 2016: The Twenty-Ninth Annual Conference, Verlag IOS Press, Amsterdam 2016, gemeinsam mit Friedemann Vogel / Isabelle GauerWe introduce Computer Assisted Legal Linguistics (CAL²) as a semi-automated method to “make sense” of legal discourse by systematically analyzing large collections of legal texts. Such digital corpora have been increasingly used in computational linguistics in recent years, as part of a quantitative research strategy designed to complement (rather than supplant) the more qualitative methods used hitherto. This use of statistical algorithms to analyze large bodies of text meets with an increasing demand by lawyers for empirical data and the recent turn towards evidence-based jurisprudence. Together, these research strands open exciting avenues for research and for developing useful IT tools to support legal decision-making, as we exemplify using our reference corpus of about 1 billion tokens from the language of German jurisprudence and legal academia.
7 … The Hog Cycle of Law Professors. An Econometric Time Series Analysis of the Entry-level Job Market in Legal Academia, PLoS ONE 11 (2016), Nr. e0159815 & e0168041, S. 122, gemeinsam mit Christoph EngelThe (German) market for law professors fulfils the conditions for a hog cycle: In the short run, supply cannot be extended or limited; future law professors must be hired soon after they first present themselves, or leave the market; demand is inelastic. Using a comprehensive German dataset, we show that the number of market entries today is negatively correlated with the number of market entries eight years ago. This suggests short-sighted behavior of young scholars at the time when they decide to prepare for the market. Using our statistical model, we make out-of-sample predictions for the German academic market in law until 2020.
6 … “Begin at the beginning”. Lawyers and Linguists Together in Wonderland, Winnower 3 (2016), Nr. 4919, S. 19, gemeinsam mit Friedemann Vogel / Dieter Stein / Andreas Abegg / Łucja Biel / Lawrence M. SolanWhat do patterns in legal language tell us about power, policy and justice? This question was at the heart of a conference on “The Fabric of Language and Law: Discovering Patterns through Legal Corpus Linguistics”, convened in March 2016 by the international research group “Computer Assisted Legal Linguistics” (CAL²) under the auspices of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences. About forty scholars from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Spain and the US brought together their different intellectual and disciplinary perspectives on computational linguistics and legal thinking. Concluding the conference, four legal linguistics experts – two native linguists, two native lawyers – discussed the perspectives and limitations of computer-assisted legal linguistics. Their debate, which this article faithfully reproduces, touches on some of the essential epistemological issues of interdisciplinary research and evidence-based policy, and marks the way forward for legal corpus linguistics.
5 … Cui Bono, Benefit Corporation? An Experiment Inspired by Social Enterprise Legislation in Germany and the US, RLE 11 (2015), S. 79110, gemeinsam mit Sven Fischer / Sebastian J. GoergHow do barely incentivized norms impact incentive-rich environments? We take social enterprise legislation as a case in point. It establishes rules on behalf of constituencies that have no institutionalized means of enforcing them. By relying primarily on managers' other-regarding concerns whilst leaving corporate incentive structures unaltered, how effective can such legislation be? This question is vital for the ongoing debate about social enterprise forms, as recently introduced in several US states and in British Columbia, Canada. We ran a laboratory experiment with a framing likened to German corporate law which traditionally includes social standards. Our results show that a stakeholder provision, as found in both Germany and the US, cannot overcome material incentives. However, even absent incentives the stakeholder norm does not foster other regarding behavior but slightly inhibits it instead. Our experiment thus illustrates the paramount importance of taking into account both incentives and framing effects when designing institutions. We tentatively discuss potential policy implications for social enterprise legislation and the stakeholder debate. In 1838 a German law professor discovered an animal that biology has never heard of. His feat was acknowledged as being one of history’s boldest examples of legal reasoning, but ill feelings on the part of more established colleagues prevented its positive reception. The professor went on to become one of the most renowned legal scholars of his day, but his discovery fell into oblivion. Now it is time to revisit and extend this research. Collegial decision-making is relevant for a host of legal questions and in particular for corporate law. What do we know about its empirical effects? Less than we could. As of yet, pertinent review articles usually (1) assume rather than analyze how much the law actually mandates collegial decision-making, (2) rely mostly on “classical” studies of decision-making or those from behavioral economics, while underrating a century’s worth of previous empirical research, and (3) review the evidence anecdotally with little regard for the robustness of each study’s findings. As a consequence, scholars from corporate law and economics even today rely on theories and evidence which were disproved years ago. The present paper is a remedy. It combines a thorough comparative analysis of corporate statutes with a comprehensive research of empirical evidence, resulting in an assessment of the robust empirical effects of collegial decision-making. Finding that groups tend to deteriorate decision quality and exacerbate cognitive biases, this paper calls upon corporate law to design institutional remedies. Knowing more about these empirical effects will help scholars to identify and eliminate faulty arguments, and thereby improve governance policy and the legal discourse as a whole.
2 … Student Participation in Legal Education in Germany and Europe, GLJ 10 (2009), S. 10951112, gemeinsam mit Lisa RiederIn Germany, the possibilities of students to participate in and contribute to legal education are generally quite limited. Compared to the legal education systems in the USA and Canada, the course of studies is rather theoretical and quite anonymous. Communication between students, faculty staff and deans is rare, and classes are fairly big. As to the abstractness of the curriculum, several changes have been made to improve the situation. For example, a reform in 2003 was supposed to increase foreign language competence and provide for more specialization and practical relevance. However, the system can still (or again) be considered to be “under construction”. Many important skills are not being taught, and the awareness of the international, social and cultural contexts is largely neglected or lacking reference to the subject matter. There is an ongoing debate about further changes to the legal educational systems especially about the adoption of the Bologna Process. While some consider it inapplicable to the German system, others have already started transferring it at their university. Several federal states have meanwhile started endorsing a basic reform. However the next rulings will not be until 2011. Presently scholars, policy-makers in the field of education and economists face the challenge of devising strategies for legal education that meet the needs and interests of all ”stakeholders” while being compatible with the traditional German system. Students are curious and concerned about the future of their curriculum. Their means of participation include a) passively evaluating teachings, b) actively engaging in a student parliament or self-governed student councils of a special field (so-called Fachschaften) and c) actively involving in student organizations. The essay discusses the importance of language learning, understanding of other peoples, and cultural awareness (together "intercultural competence") in developing successful business. It outlines theoretical problems posed by cross-cultural business ventures and then considers, in turn, three essential phases in the product life cycle (adaptation, engineering and marketing). Using various examples from recent years and two case studies (British East India Company and Infineon Technologies), it illustrates how business ventures can falter from a lack of intercultural competence or flourish in its presence. – The essay won 1st prize in the 2004 John Payne Competition of the European Business School (ebs) London.