Passing a USA national bar exam - A first experiment

Biralatei Fawei, Adam Wyner, Jeff Z. Pan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)


Bar exams provide are a key watershed by which legal professionals demonstrate their knowledge of the law and its application. Passing the bar entitles one to practice the law in a given jurisdiction. The bar provides a excellent benchmark for the performance of legal information systems since passing the bar would arguably signal that the system has acquired key aspects of legal reason on a par with a human lawyer. The paper presents a first experiment with actual bar exam material, treating it as a form of textual entailment from the question to an answer. The Gold Standard is provided by the company which provides the bar exam. The paper reports a textual entailment student on a US bar exam, running ‘out of the box’ the Excitement Open Platform for textual entailment. The results and evaluation show that the tool can identify wrong answers (non-entailment) with a high F1 score, it performs poorly in identifying the correct answer (entailment). The results provide a baseline performance measure against which to evaluate future improvements. The reasons for the poor performance are examined, and proposals are made to augment the tool in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLegal Knowledge and Information Systems, JURIX 2015: 28th Annual Conference
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781614996088
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event28th Annual International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems, JURIX 2015 - Braga, Portugal
Duration: 10 Dec 201511 Dec 2015

Publication series

NameFrontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications
ISSN (Print)09226389


Conference28th Annual International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems, JURIX 2015

Bibliographical note

The authors appreciate support from the NCBE and the Niger Delta University.


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