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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    November 01, 2017


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    From the Archives

    Curry Mural at 75: Freeing of the Slaves

    Curry Mural

    In 1942, John Steuart Curry painted Freeing of the Slaves, a large mural located on the north wall of the U.W. Law Library Reading Room, which tells a powerful story about emancipation in America.

    U.W. Madison’s Public Art Gallery describes the painting: “Beginning at the left a group of slaves leave their quarters to walk behind Union soldier troops underneath the shadows of a storm. As the painting continues right, a new day breaks, symbolizing the end of the war and the emancipation of all slaves. The main central figure ecstatically outstretches his arms and looks to the heavens as the Union flag proudly waves in the background. At his feet lay two dead soldiers, one Confederate and one Union, and at his right the victorious Union army marches on.”

    Freeing of the Slaves was originally destined for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., but Curry’s design was “rejected as too racially and politically controversial.”

    Curry, an artist-in-residence at U.W-Madison from 1936 to 1946, caught the attention of then-U.W. Law School Dean Lloyd Garrison, son of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. Dean Garrison commissioned Curry to paint the work, with a $6,000 donation from the Pabst family. Curry completed it in 1942.

    Source: U.W.-Madison. Photo credit: Robin Davies

    By the Numbers


    – The average number of pro bono hours that Wisconsin attorneys ages 70 to 74 provided to Wisconsin residents in 2016, based on a survey conducted by the American Bar Association. This average was higher than any other age group.

    The next highest was for  attorneys ages 35-39, with an average of 74 hours of pro bono work provided in 2016.

    Good Idea

    Market Disruption: Legal Technology Services

    night sky

    What do you get when a legal technology company and a law firm partner up? You get Atrium, a “team of experienced entrepreneurs and start-up lawyers working together to build the technology-first law firm of the future,” according to the Atrium website,

    On the one hand, there’s Atrium LLP, whose lawyers provide a variety of services to corporations, including start-up technology companies, on a monthly pricing plan.

    On the other hand, there’s Atrium LTS (Legal Technology Services), which includes a team of engineers who design and build technology tools and innovative software for Atrium LLP.

    Atrium LTS founder Justin Kan, a start-up entrepreneur intent on streamlining legal services, raised $10.5 million to get Atrium LTS off the ground.

    “I always wondered why the law firms that serve the most innovative technology companies in the world rarely adopt innovative software or try to improve their business operations,” Kan told Above the Law last month.

    Kan says the traditional hourly pricing model creates barriers to innovation, and Atrium will think differently.

    “The truth is there is an intrinsic resistance to adopting technology or process improvements, which is because of the hourly model: the gains from any improvements mean law firms will make less money. So why would anyone want to innovate?” said Kan, noting that when you have a fixed price for service, “it is your internal incentive to reduce cost over time. That is how the market drives lower cost for customers.”

    Source: Above the Law

    Tech Tip

    Legal Research: Fastcase 7 Is Here

    Fastcase logo

    State Bar of Wisconsin members now have access to Fastcase 7, an all-new version of the dynamic Fastcase legal research tool available as a benefit of membership.

    Many members are already familiar with Fastcase features and smart-search tools. Fastcase 7 is an even more fluid and easy-to-navigate online legal research library.

    Fastcase 7 has all the familiar features and tools, plus an enhanced Forecite, Tag Cloud, Authority Check, and Bad Law Bot. It also has more advanced search options, new results screen options, larger fonts and selections to make documents easier to read on computer screens, and new dual-column printing options.

    In addition, Fastcase 7 includes the LexBlog Network (LXBN), a library of expert legal commentary providing first-response legal analysis and insights on state, national, and international matters.

    Getting to Fastcase 7: Login to Fastcase from your State Bar account and use this quick link:

    You can still access Fastcase the old-fashioned way by logging into your State Bar account and following this path: Members>LegalResearch>Fastcase>Fastcase Advanced Search. In the upper right of the screen, you’ll see a toggle button next to your name. Toggle to Fastcase 7 and you’re off! You’ll still be able to toggle back to the old version as you learn the new features of Fastcase 7.


    “Law and legal delivery has now morphed from being a discipline that required legal expertise to a discipline that requires legal expertise, technological knowledge, as well as process management skill.”

    – Mark Cohen, in a recent podcast on “Innovation and the Changing Legal Market.” He said, “One without the other two is not going to be terribly effective.”

    Cohen is CEO and founder of Legalmosaic, a repository for his thinking about law and legal innovation. He also writes on the global legal marketplace for Forbes.


    Fastcase 7 Challenge

    Search Terms: Thanksgiving w/1 Day w/5 Turkey

    search terms

    In 1981, John Charmley was walking home from the grocery store “on a dark and stormy night,” not unusual for Portland, Ore. A motorist struck him while he was crossing an unmarked crosswalk, “where North Syracuse ends at North Ida Street.” A personal injury lawsuit followed.

    Charmley and five witnesses testified that it was Charmley’s habit to cross the intersection within the unmarked crosswalk. He never crossed any other way.

    “The observations occurred on many occasions and at various times during the day and year, although most observations were made during the summer.” Was this admissible as habit evidence?

    The Oregon Supreme Court said yes (two justices dissented), even though the defendant argued that “neither plaintiff nor his witnesses specifically testified to seeing plaintiff cross the street on rainy winter evenings.”

    Challenge: Using the search terms in the title, send legal writer Joe Forward a copy of the case, from Fastcase 7 ( First to do so will receive a discount on a State Bar product or service.

    Haven’t used Fastcase 7? See related Briefly entry, “Legal Research: Fastcase 7 Is Here.”

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