Law & Corpus Linguistics

2020 Conference

The fifth annual Law & Corpus Linguistics Conference (February 6-7th) brings together legal scholars from across various substantive areas of scholarship, prominent corpus linguistics scholars, and judges who have employed corpus linguistics analysis in their decisions.

Call for Papers:
5th Annual Law & Corpus Linguistics Conference

Deadline: October 1, 2019

Contact: James Heilpern, heilpernj@law.byu.edu

Event Date: February 6-7, 2020

Location: Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Organization: Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University Law School will host the Fifth Annual Law & Corpus Linguistics Conference in Provo, UT on February 6-7, 2020. The conference will feature a series of panels, with paper presentations in several fields of application for corpus linguistic analysis of law.

One of the panels will focus on so-called “linguistic” or “semantic” canons of construction. These canons—such as expressio unius, ejusdem generis, the presumption of consistent meaning, and the presumption against surplusage—are often justified on the ground that they accurately describe common conventions of language usage. At the same time, no one thinks that the premises of these canons always hold; they are viewed as presumptions, which thus raise the question of when the presumptions stand, and in what circumstances they are rebutted.

For a panel that will address these canons, we are seeking co-authored papers from inter-disciplinary teams comprised of legal scholars and linguists. Each team should identify one or more canons that they
propose to analyze, with a linguistic framework for evaluating the viability of the canon and for identifying criteria in which the canon will hold and circumstances in which it may not.

The proposal deadline is October 1, 2019. Proposals should include an abstract of 500-750 words, a full outline, and complete contact information. Please send materials to Tom Lee at leet@law.byu.edu.

Deadline: October 1, 2019

Event Date: February 6-7, 2020

Location: Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Organization: Brigham Young University Brigham Young University Law School will host the Fifth Annual Law & Corpus Linguistics Conference in Provo, UT on February 6-7, 2019.

The conference will feature a series of panels, with paper presentations in several fields of application for corpus linguistic analysis of law.  One of the panels will focus on applications of corpus linguistic analysis to problems of intellectual property law. Topics could include (but would not be limited to) the application of corpus linguistics to trademark issues such as genericide or distinctiveness, and to patent issues such as claim construction.

We encourage but do not require co-authored papers from inter-disciplinary teams comprised of legal scholars and linguists.  The proposal deadline is October 1, 2019. Proposals should include an abstract of 500-750 words, a full outline, and complete contact information. Please send materials to Tom Lee at leet@law.byu.edu.

Event Date: February 6-9, 2020

Location: Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Organization: Brigham Young University

Law & Corpus Linguistics Project

The Project

BYU Law’s Law & Corpus Linguistics was initially inspired by Stephen C. Mouritsen’s BYU Law Review Note, The Dictionary Is Not a Fortress: Definitional Fallacies and a Corpus-Based Approach to Plain Meaning, (2010). As various scholars began to apply corpus linguistic to legal questions, BYU’s Linguistics Professor Mark Davies’ well known Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) and Corpus of Historical American English (COHA) proved invaluable.

Following the development of formal Law & Corpus Linguistics course at the Law School in the Fall of 2013, the BYU Law Library started providing limited support for students in the class and faculty applying corpus linguistics to their scholarship such as Gordon Smith.

Research Platform

James Philips, a visiting assistant professor in Winter of 2015 , envisioned the creation of a simplified research platform and the creation of a Corpus of Founding Era American English (COFEA). Initial texts were gathered throughout 2015 and 2016 and in the Fall of 2016 the initial design of the Law & Corpus Linguistics Platform commenced.