Transforming Text Analysis for Lawyers and Paralegals
Previously, we looked into how generative AI can enable lawyers, paralegals, and other legal professionals to summarize mass amounts of text information. In this article, we will be exploring the applications of AI in text analysis, specifically concerning texts including but not limited to case laws, statutes and regulations, legal treatises and commentaries, academic or legal articles, discovery materials, and legal opinions.
With the mass amounts of texts lawyers and paralegals face, it is crucial to analyze the text and extract relevant concepts precisely. While the volume and specificity of the text may vary based on the specialization or area of law, there are generally mass amounts of legal texts that require summarization for lawyers and paralegals.
This article will demonstrate how lawyers and paralegals can benefit from drawing out important and relevant legal information by looking into several practical prompts. It is worth noting that prompts can be modified given the legal context or type of documents one seeks to analyze. As mentioned in the previous article on summarization, the current GPT engine takes up to 3000 words, though the typically recommended text length is between 1400 and 1600 words. Based on the size of the text, it may be helpful to provide a brief synopsis of the context and purpose of the text to better direct the generative AI toward an accurate analysis of the text.
Here, we will use the Fourth Geneva Conventions, a post-World War II international treaty of 1949, which updated and modified the previous treaties on topics including the framework of principles and rules governing the conduct of armed conflict alongside the protection of individuals affected.
Key Legal Concepts
Prompt: Identify the key legal concepts in the text: “___.”
Generative AI can provide lawyers and paralegals with identifying and analyzing legal concepts of a legal document. Users will gain a better grasp of central legal principles and topics surrounding the subject matter.
Let’s put this to use:
Prompt: Identify the key legal concepts of the following article from the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949:
“All protected persons who may desire to leave the territory at the outset of, or during a conflict, shall be entitled to do so, unless their departure is contrary to the national interests of the State. The applications of such persons to leave shall be decided in accordance with regularly established procedures and the decision shall be taken as rapidly as possible. Those persons permitted to leave may provide themselves with the necessary funds for their journey and take with them a reasonable amount of their effects and articles of personal use.
If any such person is refused permission to leave the territory, he shall be entitled to have such refusal reconsidered as soon as possible by an appropriate court or administrative board designated by the Detaining Power for that purpose.
Upon request, representatives of the Protecting Power shall, unless reasons of security prevent it, or the persons concerned object, be furnished with the reasons for refusal of any request for permission to leave the territory and be given, as expeditiously as possible, the names of all persons who have been denied permission to leave.”
“Key legal concepts in the provided excerpt from the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 include:
- Right to Leave the Territory: The excerpt establishes the right of protected persons to leave the territory at the outset or during a conflict, unless it contradicts the national interests of the State.
- Decision-Making Procedures: The departure applications of individuals seeking to leave the territory must be decided through established procedures, and the decision should be made promptly.
- Reconsideration of Refusal: If a person is denied permission to leave, they have the entitlement to have such refusal reviewed by an appropriate court or administrative board designated by the Detaining Power.
- Reasons for Refusal: Upon request, representatives of the Protecting Power have the right to obtain the reasons for the refusal of any request for permission to leave the territory. The names of all persons denied permission should also be provided, unless security reasons or the persons' objections prevent it.
These concepts reflect the importance of ensuring the right to freedom of movement for protected persons during armed conflicts and occupations, while also establishing procedures for decision-making and the right to challenge refusals.
Prompt: Identify the procedural requirements of the text: “___.”
Generative AI can ensure that legal professionals are aware of procedural requirements that include deadlines, notice periods, drafting guidelines, and so on.
Here is an example:
Prompt: Identify the procedural requirements of the following article from the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949:
“The Detaining Power shall grant all prisoners of war a monthly advance of pay, the amount of which shall be fixed by conversion, into the currency of the said Power, of the following amounts:
Category I : Prisoners ranking below sergeants: eight Swiss francs.
Category II : Sergeants and other non-commissioned officers, or prisoners of equivalent rank: twelve Swiss francs.
Category III : Warrant officers and commissioned officers below the rank of major or prisoners of equivalent rank: fifty Swiss francs.
Category IV : Majors, lieutenant-colonels, colonels or prisoners of equivalent rank: sixty Swiss francs.
Category V : General officers or prisoners of war of equivalent rank: seventy-five Swiss francs.
However, the Parties to the conflict concerned may by special agreement modify the amount of advances of pay due to prisoners of the preceding categories.
Furthermore, if the amounts indicated in the first paragraph above would be unduly high compared with the pay of the Detaining Power’s armed forces or would, for any reason, seriously embarrass the Detaining Power, then, pending the conclusion of a special agreement with the Power on which the prisoners depend to vary the amounts indicated above, the Detaining Power:
a) shall continue to credit the accounts of the prisoners with the amounts indicated in the first paragraph above;
b) may temporarily limit the amount made available from these advances of pay to prisoners of war for their own use, to sums which are reasonable, but which, for Category I, shall never be inferior to the amount that the Detaining Power gives to the members of its own armed forces. The reasons for any limitations will be given without delay to the Protecting Power.”
"The procedural requirements outlined in the provided excerpt from the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 are as follows:
- Granting of Monthly Advance of Pay: The Detaining Power is required to provide all prisoners of war with a monthly advance of pay. The specific amount of pay for each category of prisoners, based on their rank or status, is defined.
- Modification of Pay Amounts: The parties to the conflict have the authority to modify the amounts of advances of pay through special agreements for prisoners belonging to the designated categories.
- Limitations on Pay Amounts: If the indicated amounts of pay would be excessively high compared to the pay of the Detaining Power's own armed forces or would cause significant embarrassment, the Detaining Power can temporarily restrict the amount made available to prisoners for their personal use. However, these limitations must still be reasonable, and for Category I prisoners, the amount should never be lower than what the Detaining Power provides to its own armed forces.
- Communication of Limitations: The Detaining Power must promptly provide the reasons for any limitations imposed on the pay available to prisoners of war to the Protecting Power.
These procedural requirements ensure that prisoners of war receive a monthly advance of pay based on their respective categories. The excerpt also allows for flexibility through special agreements to modify pay amounts. However, any limitations imposed on pay must be reasonable and communicated to the Protecting Power. By adhering to these requirements, the rights of prisoners of war are safeguarded, ensuring fair treatment in accordance with the Geneva Convention of 1949."
Obligations and Rights
Prompt: Identify the obligations and rights of parties involved in the text: “___.”
This prompt will empower lawyers and paralegals by providing an in-depth examination of possible restrictions, expectations, or limitations surrounding the application of any obligations or rights from a legal text.
The following is an example:
Prompt: Identify the obligations and rights of parties involved of the following article from the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949:
“Every prisoner of war, when questioned on the subject, is bound to give only his surname, first names and rank, date of birth, and army, regimental, personal or serial number, or failing this, equivalent information.
If he wilfully infringes this rule, he may render himself liable to a restriction of the privileges accorded to his rank or status.
Each Party to a conflict is required to furnish the persons under its jurisdiction who are liable to become prisoners of war, with an identity card showing the owner’s surname, first names, rank, army, regimental, personal or serial number or equivalent information, and date of birth. The identity card may, furthermore, bear the signature or the finger-prints, or both, of the owner, and may bear, as well, any other information the Party to the conflict may wish to add concerning persons belonging to its armed forces. As far as possible the card shall measure 6.5 x 10 cm and shall be issued in duplicate. The identity card shall be shown by the prisoner of war upon demand, but may in no case be taken away from him.
No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever.
Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind. Prisoners of war who, owing to their physical or mental condition, are unable to state their identity, shall be handed over to the medical service. The identity of such prisoners shall be established by all possible means, subject to the provisions of the preceding paragraph.
The questioning of prisoners of war shall be carried out in a language which they understand.”
“The rights and obligations of parties involved in the provided excerpt from the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 can be identified as follows:
1. Obligations of Prisoners of War:
- Providing Required Information: Prisoners of war are obliged to provide certain information when questioned, including their surname, first names, rank, date of birth, and army, regimental, personal, or serial number. They are expected to comply with this obligation.
- Consequences of Willful Infringement: Willfully infringing the obligation to provide required information may lead to the restriction of privileges accorded to their rank or status.
2. Obligations of Parties to the Conflict:
- Furnishing Identity Cards: Each party to the conflict is required to issue identity cards to individuals under its jurisdiction who are liable to become prisoners of war. These cards must include essential information such as surname, first names, rank, army, regimental, personal or serial number, date of birth, and may also include additional information or signatures. The identity card must be shown by the prisoner of war upon demand but cannot be taken away from them.
- Prohibition of Coercion and Torture: Parties to the conflict have an obligation not to inflict physical or mental torture or any other form of coercion to obtain information from prisoners of war. This ensures the protection of the physical and mental well-being of prisoners.
- Respectful Treatment: Prisoners of war who refuse to answer questions may not be threatened, insulted, or subjected to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment. Parties must ensure the humane treatment of prisoners.
- Medical Treatment: Prisoners of war who, due to their physical or mental condition, are unable to state their identity should be transferred to the medical service for appropriate care. Their identity should be established by all possible means, while considering the provisions mentioned above.
3. Language of Questioning: The questioning of prisoners of war should be conducted in a language that they understand, ensuring effective communication and the ability to comprehend and respond.
By analyzing this article, generative AI can help identify and highlight the rights and obligations of parties involved regarding the provision of information, the issuance and presentation of identity cards, the prohibition of coercion and torture, the respectful treatment of prisoners, and the language used during questioning.
Lawyers and paralegals can utilize generative AI to explore other aspects of text analysis, including determining legal issues, legal standards, jurisdiction, and implications of a given legal text. Many more relevant prompts can be viewed on LowTech AI, a website empowering generative AI users.