Legal Apprentice Student Edition
Legal Apprentice Student Edition helps law professors and law students capture and codify decided cases for any given cause of action. Law professors build a template of the legal reasoning for a cause of action that students can then use to study the complete reasoning in decided cases, and develop analogous reasoning for hypothetical cases.
The benefits of using the Legal Apprentice Student Edition include:
· Using a logical framework adapted to reasoning in legal cases
· Easy capturing of legal rules and evidence
· Integrating legal rules and evidence into single lines of reasoning or argument
· Converting reasoning into html documents for posting, emailing or printing
· Creating portable zip files that contain both reasoning and file documents
Apprentice Systems is providing a free download of Legal Apprentice Student Edition. Note: LASE only runs on Microsoft Windows operating systems.
A Quick Overview of the Legal Apprentice - Student Edition
The Student Edition of Legal Apprentice enables you to capture the actual reasoning in a particular legal case, combining the legal rules and the evidence that support the ultimate decision. As illustrated in Figure 1, you can capture the legal rules used in the case in a rule tree (implication tree), composed of bold-font propositions and the logical operators AND, OR, and UNLESS. You can expand or collapse the tree to show or hide additional levels of rules. In addition to this model of the legal reasoning, you can also save the reported decision, exhibits, and any supporting documentation in the same case file as the reasoning.
Figure 1: Illustration of rule tree for a case, with the reported decision attached
At the beginning of a case, each proposition has with a default value of ‘undecided’ (indicated by a white icon in front of the proposition), but you can change that value to either ‘true’ (green icon) or ‘false’ (red icon) through stipulation or through evaluation of the evidence. These three truth-values are illustrated in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Illustration of a rule tree containing undecided, true and false propositions
As illustrated in Figure 3, you can attach evidentiary assertions (sentences in non-bold font) to any proposition in the rule tree, and evaluate the plausibility of each evidentiary assertion on a seven-point scale, ranging from ‘highly plausible’ to ‘highly implausible.’ You can also construct a line of evidentiary reasoning or proof, using the logical connectives MIN, MAX, REBUT, and UNDERCUT (plausibility connectives). Unless the truth-value of the proposition has been stipulated, the Legal Apprentice calculates the truth-value using the plausibility-values of the attached evidentiary assertions and the plausibility connectives. The images on this webpage are intended only to illustrate features of the Legal Apprentice, not to represent the evidence evaluation in the actual case. The Legal Apprentice makes it easy for the user to hypothetically evaluate the evidence in different ways.
Figure 3: Illustration of evidentiary reasoning containing plausibility connectives and evidentiary assertions with degrees of plausibility
As shown in Figure 4, you can export the reasoning in the case at any time as an HTML page, and then post it to a webpage, email it, or print it using a standard browser.
Figure 4: Illustration of reasoning exported to HTML
Through the steps illustrated above (attaching evidentiary assertions, documents or exhibits; stipulating or evaluating propositions or assertions), you can model the reasoning in a legal case using the Legal Apprentice in its ‘Evaluation Mode.’ But you can also design or modify a rule tree as a general model, using the Legal Apprentice in its ‘Design Mode’ (illustrated in Figure 5). In this mode, the logical operators are separated from the propositions, making it easier to construct a general structure of legal rules for a particular area of law.
Figure 5: Illustration of a rule tree in Design Mode
In the Design Mode, you can easily add new logical connectives and new propositions in order to capture additional rules of law. Figure 6 illustrates the addition of a new proposition.
Figure 6: Illustration of adding a proposition
A rule tree in the Design Mode should capture the rules of law applicable to all cases, not the application of those rules to a specific case. Rule propositions in the Design Mode should use generic subjects, such as ‘the plaintiff’ and ‘the defendant.’ You can then define any words or phrases as ‘dynamic subjects’ (see Figure 7), to which you can assign particular values in a specific case (e.g., the Legal Apprentice can replace ‘the plaintiff’ with the particular plaintiff’s name throughout the entire tree). Dynamic substitution makes a Legal Apprentice rule tree a powerful template, which you can use to generate an unlimited number of cases quickly and easily.
Figure 7: Illustration of defining a dynamic subject
The two distinct modes of Design and Evaluation encourage students to distinguish the rules and concepts of the law (captured in a rule or implication tree) from the application of those rules in a case (involving specific individuals and other case details, as well as evidence and evaluation). Thus, the Student Edition of the Legal Apprentice is a tool that students will find useful in capturing and studying legal knowledge, while the architecture of the Legal Apprentice fosters sound reasoning patterns as you use it.
Note: Legal Apprentice Student Edition only runs on Microsoft Windows operating systems.