Online Workshop on the Computational Analysis of Law

Online Workshop on the Computational Analysis of Law

Workshop Notice and Call for Abstracts

There is a growing interest among scholars from across a variety of disciplines and around the globe in the use of computational tools to study the law. Unfortunately, researchers in this field sometimes lack a critical mass of colleagues with similar interests. The Online Workshop on the Computational Analysis of Law (OWCAL) was created to help remedy this situation by providing a regular opportunity for scholars to receive feedback and gain exposure to new techniques and questions.

The purpose of the workshops is to highlight the best and most innovative scholarship in computational legal studies and to build an intellectual community in support of this new field. In recent years, the digitization of legal texts and developments in statistics, computer science, and data analytics have opened entirely new methodological approaches to the study of law. These new methods build on traditional empirical legal studies by treating the information contained in the text of legal documents as data that can be subjected to quantitative analysis.

The workshops are held online during the second week of each month. Each workshop is based on a draft paper (to be circulated a week prior) and consists of a presentation as well as short comments from a named discussant, with the majority of time reserved for a question-and-answer session with workshop participants.

Participation in OWCAL is open—RSVP by June 1, 2018. If you are interested in participating during the 2018–2019 academic year, RSVP to with the subject line “OWCAL RSVP” and you will be added to the participant list. By responding, you agree to participate on a regular basis, and at a minimum you commit to make a reasonable effort to participate in half of the workshops that are scheduled during work hours in your time zone. A schedule for the first term will be released in August, and the schedule for the second term will be released in December. Given the global nature of the enterprise, we plan to hold sessions at various hours to accommodate participants in different locations, based on presenters’ home time zone.

OWCAL is current soliciting abstracts for presentations to be held over the 2018–2019 academic year. Abstracts should be between 150–500 words and explain motivation, methods, and early results (if any). Projects need not be complete to be considered, but presenters should be prepared to circulate a draft paper the week prior to their workshop. Projects at an early stage can be scheduled for later in the term to allow time for additional work. Abstracts should describe work that treats legal texts (broadly understood) as the basis for quantitative analysis. Both descriptive and casual projects are welcome.

Abstracts are due July 1, 2018. Abstracts should be submitted to with the subject line “Abstract Submission.” Multiple author works are welcome. Preference will be given to OWCAL participants. Note: RSVPs and abstract submissions should be sent in separate emails.

Please feel free to circulate this notice to colleagues or graduate students who may be interested.