Ilias Chalkidis


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Layer-wise Guided Training for BERT: Learning Incrementally Refined Document Representations
Nikolaos Manginas | Ilias Chalkidis | Prodromos Malakasiotis
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Structured Prediction for NLP

Although BERT is widely used by the NLP community, little is known about its inner workings. Several attempts have been made to shed light on certain aspects of BERT, often with contradicting conclusions. A much raised concern focuses on BERT’s over-parameterization and under-utilization issues. To this end, we propose o novel approach to fine-tune BERT in a structured manner. Specifically, we focus on Large Scale Multilabel Text Classification (LMTC) where documents are assigned with one or more labels from a large predefined set of hierarchically organized labels. Our approach guides specific BERT layers to predict labels from specific hierarchy levels. Experimenting with two LMTC datasets we show that this structured fine-tuning approach not only yields better classification results but also leads to better parameter utilization.

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LEGAL-BERT: The Muppets straight out of Law School
Ilias Chalkidis | Manos Fergadiotis | Prodromos Malakasiotis | Nikolaos Aletras | Ion Androutsopoulos
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

BERT has achieved impressive performance in several NLP tasks. However, there has been limited investigation on its adaptation guidelines in specialised domains. Here we focus on the legal domain, where we explore several approaches for applying BERT models to downstream legal tasks, evaluating on multiple datasets. Our findings indicate that the previous guidelines for pre-training and fine-tuning, often blindly followed, do not always generalize well in the legal domain. Thus we propose a systematic investigation of the available strategies when applying BERT in specialised domains. These are: (a) use the original BERT out of the box, (b) adapt BERT by additional pre-training on domain-specific corpora, and (c) pre-train BERT from scratch on domain-specific corpora. We also propose a broader hyper-parameter search space when fine-tuning for downstream tasks and we release LEGAL-BERT, a family of BERT models intended to assist legal NLP research, computational law, and legal technology applications.

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An Empirical Study on Large-Scale Multi-Label Text Classification Including Few and Zero-Shot Labels
Ilias Chalkidis | Manos Fergadiotis | Sotiris Kotitsas | Prodromos Malakasiotis | Nikolaos Aletras | Ion Androutsopoulos
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Large-scale Multi-label Text Classification (LMTC) has a wide range of Natural Language Processing (NLP) applications and presents interesting challenges. First, not all labels are well represented in the training set, due to the very large label set and the skewed label distributions of datasets. Also, label hierarchies and differences in human labelling guidelines may affect graph-aware annotation proximity. Finally, the label hierarchies are periodically updated, requiring LMTC models capable of zero-shot generalization. Current state-of-the-art LMTC models employ Label-Wise Attention Networks (LWANs), which (1) typically treat LMTC as flat multi-label classification; (2) may use the label hierarchy to improve zero-shot learning, although this practice is vastly understudied; and (3) have not been combined with pre-trained Transformers (e.g. BERT), which have led to state-of-the-art results in several NLP benchmarks. Here, for the first time, we empirically evaluate a battery of LMTC methods from vanilla LWANs to hierarchical classification approaches and transfer learning, on frequent, few, and zero-shot learning on three datasets from different domains. We show that hierarchical methods based on Probabilistic Label Trees (PLTs) outperform LWANs. Furthermore, we show that Transformer-based approaches outperform the state-of-the-art in two of the datasets, and we propose a new state-of-the-art method which combines BERT with LWAN. Finally, we propose new models that leverage the label hierarchy to improve few and zero-shot learning, considering on each dataset a graph-aware annotation proximity measure that we introduce.


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Neural Legal Judgment Prediction in English
Ilias Chalkidis | Ion Androutsopoulos | Nikolaos Aletras
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Legal judgment prediction is the task of automatically predicting the outcome of a court case, given a text describing the case’s facts. Previous work on using neural models for this task has focused on Chinese; only feature-based models (e.g., using bags of words and topics) have been considered in English. We release a new English legal judgment prediction dataset, containing cases from the European Court of Human Rights. We evaluate a broad variety of neural models on the new dataset, establishing strong baselines that surpass previous feature-based models in three tasks: (1) binary violation classification; (2) multi-label classification; (3) case importance prediction. We also explore if models are biased towards demographic information via data anonymization. As a side-product, we propose a hierarchical version of BERT, which bypasses BERT’s length limitation.

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Large-Scale Multi-Label Text Classification on EU Legislation
Ilias Chalkidis | Emmanouil Fergadiotis | Prodromos Malakasiotis | Ion Androutsopoulos
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We consider Large-Scale Multi-Label Text Classification (LMTC) in the legal domain. We release a new dataset of 57k legislative documents from EUR-LEX, annotated with ∼4.3k EUROVOC labels, which is suitable for LMTC, few- and zero-shot learning. Experimenting with several neural classifiers, we show that BIGRUs with label-wise attention perform better than other current state of the art methods. Domain-specific WORD2VEC and context-sensitive ELMO embeddings further improve performance. We also find that considering only particular zones of the documents is sufficient. This allows us to bypass BERT’s maximum text length limit and fine-tune BERT, obtaining the best results in all but zero-shot learning cases.

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Extreme Multi-Label Legal Text Classification: A Case Study in EU Legislation
Ilias Chalkidis | Emmanouil Fergadiotis | Prodromos Malakasiotis | Nikolaos Aletras | Ion Androutsopoulos
Proceedings of the Natural Legal Language Processing Workshop 2019

We consider the task of Extreme Multi-Label Text Classification (XMTC) in the legal domain. We release a new dataset of 57k legislative documents from EURLEX, the European Union’s public document database, annotated with concepts from EUROVOC, a multidisciplinary thesaurus. The dataset is substantially larger than previous EURLEX datasets and suitable for XMTC, few-shot and zero-shot learning. Experimenting with several neural classifiers, we show that BIGRUs with self-attention outperform the current multi-label state-of-the-art methods, which employ label-wise attention. Replacing CNNs with BIGRUs in label-wise attention networks leads to the best overall performance.


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Obligation and Prohibition Extraction Using Hierarchical RNNs
Ilias Chalkidis | Ion Androutsopoulos | Achilleas Michos
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

We consider the task of detecting contractual obligations and prohibitions. We show that a self-attention mechanism improves the performance of a BILSTM classifier, the previous state of the art for this task, by allowing it to focus on indicative tokens. We also introduce a hierarchical BILSTM, which converts each sentence to an embedding, and processes the sentence embeddings to classify each sentence. Apart from being faster to train, the hierarchical BILSTM outperforms the flat one, even when the latter considers surrounding sentences, because the hierarchical model has a broader discourse view.