Abhilasha Sancheti


2023

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What to Read in a Contract? Party-Specific Summarization of Legal Obligations, Entitlements, and Prohibitions
Abhilasha Sancheti | Aparna Garimella | Balaji Srinivasan | Rachel Rudinger
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Reviewing and comprehending key obligations, entitlements, and prohibitions in legal contracts can be a tedious task due to their length and domain-specificity. Furthermore, the key rights and duties requiring review vary for each contracting party. In this work, we propose a new task of party-specific extractive summarization for legal contracts to facilitate faster reviewing and improved comprehension of rights and duties. To facilitate this, we curate a dataset comprising of party-specific pairwise importance comparisons annotated by legal experts, covering ~293K sentence pairs that include obligations, entitlements, and prohibitions extracted from lease agreements. Using this dataset, we train a pairwise importance ranker and propose a pipeline-based extractive summarization system that generates a party-specific contract summary. We establish the need for incorporating domain-specific notions of importance during summarization by comparing our system against various baselines using both automatic and human evaluation methods.

2022

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What do Large Language Models Learn about Scripts?
Abhilasha Sancheti | Rachel Rudinger
Proceedings of the 11th Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics

Script Knowledge (Schank and Abelson, 1975) has long been recognized as crucial for language understanding as it can help in filling in unstated information in a narrative. However, such knowledge is expensive to produce manually and difficult to induce from text due to reporting bias (Gordon and Van Durme, 2013). In this work, we are interested in the scientific question of whether explicit script knowledge is present and accessible through pre-trained generative language models (LMs). To this end, we introduce the task of generating full event sequence descriptions (ESDs) given a scenario as a natural language prompt. Through zero-shot probing, we find that generative LMs produce poor ESDs with mostly omitted, irrelevant, repeated or misordered events. To address this, we propose a pipeline-based script induction framework (SIF) which can generate good quality ESDs for unseen scenarios (e.g., bake a cake). SIF is a two-staged framework that fine-tunes LM on a small set of ESD examples in the first stage. In the second stage, ESD generated for an unseen scenario is post-processed using RoBERTa-based models to filter irrelevant events, remove repetitions, and reorder the temporally misordered events. Through automatic and manual evaluations, we demonstrate that SIF yields substantial improvements (1-3 BLEU points) over a fine-tuned LM. However, manual analysis shows that there is great room for improvement, offering a new research direction for inducing script knowledge.

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Agent-Specific Deontic Modality Detection in Legal Language
Abhilasha Sancheti | Aparna Garimella | Balaji Vasan Srinivasan | Rachel Rudinger
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Legal documents are typically long and written in legalese, which makes it particularly difficult for laypeople to understand their rights and duties. While natural language understanding technologies can be valuable in supporting such understanding in the legal domain, the limited availability of datasets annotated for deontic modalities in the legal domain, due to the cost of hiring experts and privacy issues, is a bottleneck. To this end, we introduce, LEXDEMOD, a corpus of English contracts annotatedwith deontic modality expressed with respect to a contracting party or agent along with the modal triggers. We benchmark this dataset on two tasks: (i) agent-specific multi-label deontic modality classification, and (ii) agent-specific deontic modality and trigger span detection using Transformer-based (Vaswani et al., 2017) language models. Transfer learning experiments show that the linguistic diversity of modal expressions in LEXDEMOD generalizes reasonably from lease to employment andrental agreements. A small case study indicates that a model trained on LEXDEMOD can detect red flags with high recall. We believe our work offers a new research direction for deontic modality detection in the legal domain.

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CaM-Gen: Causally Aware Metric-Guided Text Generation
Navita Goyal | Roodram Paneri | Ayush Agarwal | Udit Kalani | Abhilasha Sancheti | Niyati Chhaya
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Content is created for a well-defined purpose, often described by a metric or signal represented in the form of structured information. The relationship between the goal (metrics) of target content and the content itself is non-trivial. While large-scale language models show promising text generation capabilities, guiding the generated text with external metrics is challenging. These metrics and content tend to have inherent relationships and not all of them may be of consequence. We introduce CaM-Gen: Causally aware Generative Networks guided by user-defined target metrics incorporating the causal relationships between the metric and content features. We leverage causal inference techniques to identify causally significant aspects of a text that lead to the target metric and then explicitly guide generative models towards these by a feedback mechanism. We propose this mechanism for variational autoencoder and Transformer-based generative models. The proposed models beat baselines in terms of the target metric control while maintaining fluency and language quality of the generated text. To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the early attempts at controlled generation incorporating a metric guide using causal inference.

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Text Simplification for Legal Domain: {I}nsights and Challenges
Aparna Garimella | Abhilasha Sancheti | Vinay Aggarwal | Ananya Ganesh | Niyati Chhaya | Nandakishore Kambhatla
Proceedings of the Natural Legal Language Processing Workshop 2022

Legal documents such as contracts contain complex and domain-specific jargons, long and nested sentences, and often present with several details that may be difficult to understand for laypeople without domain expertise. In this paper, we explore the problem of text simplification (TS) in legal domain. The main challenge to this is the lack of availability of complex-simple parallel datasets for the legal domain. We investigate some of the existing datasets, methods, and metrics in the TS literature for simplifying legal texts, and perform human evaluation to analyze the gaps. We present some of the challenges involved, and outline a few open questions that need to be addressed for future research in this direction.

2021

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Multi-Style Transfer with Discriminative Feedback on Disjoint Corpus
Navita Goyal | Balaji Vasan Srinivasan | Anandhavelu N | Abhilasha Sancheti
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Style transfer has been widely explored in natural language generation with non-parallel corpus by directly or indirectly extracting a notion of style from source and target domain corpus. A common shortcoming of existing approaches is the prerequisite of joint annotations across all the stylistic dimensions under consideration. Availability of such dataset across a combination of styles limits the extension of these setups to multiple style dimensions. While cascading single-dimensional models across multiple styles is a possibility, it suffers from content loss, especially when the style dimensions are not completely independent of each other. In our work, we relax this requirement of jointly annotated data across multiple styles by using independently acquired data across different style dimensions without any additional annotations. We initialize an encoder-decoder setup with transformer-based language model pre-trained on a generic corpus and enhance its re-writing capability to multiple target style dimensions by employing multiple style-aware language models as discriminators. Through quantitative and qualitative evaluation, we show the ability of our model to control styles across multiple style dimensions while preserving content of the input text. We compare it against baselines involving cascaded state-of-the-art uni-dimensional style transfer models.

2020

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LynyrdSkynyrd at WNUT-2020 Task 2: Semi-Supervised Learning for Identification of Informative COVID-19 English Tweets
Abhilasha Sancheti | Kushal Chawla | Gaurav Verma
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT 2020)

In this work, we describe our system for WNUT-2020 shared task on the identification of informative COVID-19 English tweets. Our system is an ensemble of various machine learning methods, leveraging both traditional feature-based classifiers as well as recent advances in pre-trained language models that help in capturing the syntactic, semantic, and contextual features from the tweets. We further employ pseudo-labelling to incorporate the unlabelled Twitter data released on the pandemic. Our best performing model achieves an F1-score of 0.9179 on the provided validation set and 0.8805 on the blind test-set.