Best described as an incubator of ideas, CodeX, the Center for Legal Informatics, is a joint venture between Stanford Law School and Stanford Computer Science department.
“We are an inter-disciplinary research centre,” says executive director Roland Vogl (pictured). “Our mission is to bring information technology to the legal system to make it more efficient and to empower every stakeholder. We understand there’s a lot of interest in helping lawyers do their work more efficiently.”
Started in 2005, CodeX organises technologies into legal document management, legal infrastructure and computational law. Vogl defines legal document management as “technologies that are used to get to the legal content more efficiently: legal search technologies or ediscovery technologies”. Legal infrastructure involves systems or platforms that connect different stakeholders.
Computational law is CodeX’s key focus of research interest. “It’s where we automate and mechanise part of the legal analysis – a branch of legal informatics where the computer understands legal concepts and can reason,” says Vogl. “The other aspect is AI, statistical AI and data analytics in legal settings where you crunch the data of judges’ decisions or patent examiners’ decisions and try to help legal professionals make decisions that are more data driven.”
In recent years, CodeX has opened its doors to the growing legal innovation community. “It’s become a place where people meet and present new ideas,” he says. “They find a group of like-minded people who help them elaborate.”