Resource: First-Year Law Students' Court Memoranda

Reference First-Year Law Students' Court Memoranda
Date of Submission Feb. 27, 2017, 4:41 p.m.
Status accepted
ISLRN 141-827-463-794-4
Resource Type Primary Text
Media Type Text
Language English
Format/MIME Type application/xml, application/msword
Size 39200 KB
Access Medium Web Download


First-Year Law Students' Court Memoranda consists of 197 English law student writing samples of legal briefs annotated for certain characteristics along with accompanying survey responses by the student writers.

The briefs were created in a law school writing class at two law schools in the US Midwest during the 2011-12 academic year. Students who agreed to participate in this study uploaded their briefs to an online survey instrument and answered questions regarding their age, gender, level of education, most recent writing course and method of learning English. The study's purpose was to apply natural language processing approaches to determine any differences in the briefs' language attributable to the students' self-reported genders.


The writings are the year-end memoranda of law to a court required in the two legal writing classes. All students were writing in the same genre and in many instances, on the same hypothetical legal case. The samples were imported into the General Architecture for Text Engineering (GATE) and annotated by two human coders who identified large text segments specific to the legal genre in which the students wrote, such as text headings, citations, block quotes and footnotes.

Writing samples are presented as MS Word documents and annotations and survey responses are presented in XML format. The data has been anonymized to remove names and other identifying information about the student participants.

Version 1.0
Creator Brian Larson
Distributor Linguistic Data Consortium
Rights Holder Portions © 2017 Brian N. Larson, © 2017 Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania