July 01, 2020 Feature

Corpus Linguistics: Just Another Tool in the Judge’s Toolbox?

By Andria Dorsten Ebert

Corpus linguistics—the practice of using computerized databases of text (corpora) to determine the meaning of a word—has been trending recently in state and federal judicial opinions, including in briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court.1 Practitioners should seek to understand this hot and trending topic and be ready for the judge who requests briefing on the issue.2 Equipped with an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of using corpus linguistics, practitioners can provide strong and effective briefings to the court on issues of statutory interpretation.

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