AI & Law: Legal Simplification

Lance Eliot
7 min readNov 30, 2020
Using AI to simplify the law, but the outcome might not be desirable

by Dr. Lance B. Eliot

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Key briefing points about this article:

  • An ongoing drumbeat is whether the laws are overly convoluted and need to be simplified
  • Simplifying the laws might provide upsized benefits for the public and the practice of law
  • Not everyone is convinced that law simplification is an answer and might worsen matters
  • AI has the potential for providing a type of legal simplification engine
  • There are qualms that the AI simplifying machinations could bode for legal difficulties


There is an ongoing tension between the law as necessarily being complex and unwieldy, perhaps innately so, versus the belief that the law can inexorably be greatly simplified and streamlined. The public at large would presumably be more amenable to observing the laws if the arcane morass of the laws were straight-and-narrow rather than existent as bloated and altogether confounding. In theory, the courts too would be better off, and the practice of law might be less obtuse were it not for the existing oblique nature of our laws.

Not everyone though might hold that same view of seeking heightened simplicity. Recall the famous words of Montesquieu (1748) as uttered in De l’Esprit des Lois: “Thus when a man takes on absolute power, he first thinks of simplifying the law. In such a state one begins to be more affected by technicalities than by the freedom of the people, about which one no longer cares at all.”

For details on this and other AI and law topics, including sample code excerpts and salient explanations, see my textbook entitled “AI and Legal Reasoning Essentials” at this link here:

In the quote by Montesquieu, there is a raised concern of an authoritarian state taking on absolute power and opting to subsequently simplify the law. This simplification, in…

Lance Eliot

Dr. Lance B. Eliot is a renowned global expert on AI, successful startup founder, global CIO/CTO, , was a top exec at a major Venture Capital (VC) firm.