Recommendation in legal scenario (Legal-Rec) is a specialized recommendation task that aims to provide potential helpful legal documents for users. While there are mainly three differences compared with traditional recommendation: (1) Both the structural connections and textual contents of legal information are important in the Legal-Rec scenario, which means feature fusion is very important here. (2) Legal-Rec users prefer the newest legal cases (the latest legal interpretation and legal practice), which leads to a severe new-item problem. (3) Different from users in other scenarios, most Legal-Rec users are expert and domain-related users. They often concentrate on several topics and have more stable information needs. So it is important to accurately model user interests here. To the best of our knowledge, existing recommendation work cannot handle these challenges simultaneously.
To address these challenges, we propose a legal information enhanced graph neural network–based recommendation framework (LegalGNN). First, a unified legal content and structure representation model is designed for feature fusion, where the Heterogeneous Legal Information Network (HLIN) is constructed to connect the structural features (e.g., knowledge graph) and contextual features (e.g., the content of legal documents) for training. Second, to model user interests, we incorporate the queries users issued in legal systems into the HLIN and link them with both retrieved documents and inquired users. This extra information is not only helpful for estimating user preferences, but also valuable for cold users/items (with less interaction history) in this scenario. Third, a graph neural network with relational attention mechanism is applied to make use of high-order connections in HLIN for Legal-Rec. Experimental results on a real-world legal dataset verify that LegalGNN outperforms several state-of-the-art methods significantly. As far as we know, LegalGNN is the first graph neural model for legal recommendation.