Legalese

These guys seem to be doing what NESTA wouldn't fund :)

legalese.com

When we borrow Andreessen's adage and say "software is eating law", we mean software eating law in a rather specific way: it gets Turing’d, by way of a domain-specific language. (Lawyers, don’t worry; you’ll keep your jobs, sorta) - legalese.com

A domain-specific programming language (DSL) for legal means a language that is designed to capture legal semantics and logic; a deep-tech computer science approach to law. The DSL does for the modal calculus what functional languages do for the lambda calculus. The one we're designing and implementing is called, L4. Simply put, a DSL means that all legal (and quasi-legal) documents and laws will have a common denominator for entire suites of future functionality. The history of computer science informs the future of legal: we can translate entire families of concepts, such as compilation, dependency management, multi-lingual code, linters, code libraries, fuzz testing, unit & integration testing, and even agile development and opensource software communities of practice. Accompanied by static analysers capable of formal verification, a DSL will enable us to prove, to the extent mathematically possible, that the contracts written in the language are correct, consistent, and compliant with legislative constraints. The idea of building a DSL for an entire domain is not new; companies like Adobe, Intuit, Autodesk, Cadence – category-owners of their respective fields all started with their own domain specific languages / standards. As Frederik Pohl might put it, a good futurist predicts the car; a great futurist predicts the traffic jam. If the car is a formal language for contracts and agreements (maybe even legislation), then a taxi service might be smart contracts integrated with cryptocurrencies and wholly automated business processes, exposed through legally binding APIs. The traffic jam? Maybe that’s a DDOS in the form of micro-contract spam, a welter of frivolous lawsuits, or a zero-day exploit of an error enshrined in some old piece of paperwork that didn’t get patched with the latest service pack. The battery of tools which computer scientists and programmers currently have at their disposal (of which lawyers don’t even have an inkling) can be applied to the field of legal. Legalese asserts what tomorrow's lawyers do will look a lot like what today's programmers do: drawing on opensource libraries, they will configure code for clients that compiles to readable contracts – maybe English, maybe Ethereum/Hyperledger. From that future, we will look back on today's lawyers, drafting agreements in Microsoft Word and checking references by hand, as impossibly quaint, like hand embroidery.

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