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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    October 12, 2022


    Interesting facts, trends, tips, bits and bytes in the news.

    Tech Tip | The Future of Brief Writing?

    robot hand typing on keyboard

    Many legal research providers allow users to upload a brief and receive a summary of whether the cases cited in the brief are still good law. Writers can also upload their briefs and receive feedback on the content and grammar.

    But can technology write briefs for lawyers? Not yet. But that might soon change.

    In June, Scientific American published an article about an artificial-intelligence algorithm, generative pre-trained transformer 3 (GPT-3), available at

    The article’s author asked GPT-3 to write an academic thesis, complete with scientific references and citations. The author then asked GPT-3 to write a paper, and the completed paper was eventually published.

    GPT-3 is a computer-coding technology that uses deep learning to create text that reads as if it were written by a human.

    It will probably be a decade before the technology is deployed in the legal field to write briefs, with new regulations likely to follow.

    In the meantime, lawyers and others can experiment with the technology for a relatively low cost by visiting

    Source: Scientific American

    Quotable | “She’s clearly a hidden figure in American history.”

    Elizabeth Freeman statue

    – Massachusetts State Rep. William Pignatelli, on Elizabeth Freeman

    A statue was erected recently in Sheffield, Mass., to honor Elizabeth Freeman, an enslaved person who won her freedom 80 years before the Emancipation Proclamation.

    The statue was unveiled on Aug. 21, the date in 1781 when a jury ruled that Freeman, and an enslaved man named Brom, should be emancipated.

    Freeman could neither read nor write. But when she heard the Massachusetts Constitution read aloud in public in 1780, her ears pricked up at the words, “All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights.”

    After the public reading, Freeman hiked five miles to the home of Theodore Sedgwick, a lawyer. Freeman asked Sedgwick to help in her drive to be emancipated.

    Sedgwick agreed. Brom was added to the case because under Massachusetts law, women had few rights.

    Massachusetts State Rep. William Pignatelli, who grew up near Sheffield, led the effort to raise $280,000 for the eight-foot-tall statue.

    Source: AP

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    By the Numbers | 38.8

    – The percentage of lawyers in the U.S. in 2022 who were women

    The percentage of women lawyers grew from 31% in 2010 to 38.8% in 2022, according to the ABA’s annual Profile of the Legal Profession.

    The number of women lawyers grew only 5% in the last 10 years. But that gain is greater than the total – 3% – of lawyers who were women from 1950 to 1970.

    The percentage of women among the 1,409 judges in the federal judiciary is slightly lower, at 30%.

    According to the ABA report, New York (187,246) and California (170,306) each have more active lawyers than any other state. Illinois comes in fifth, with 67,720.

    New York (9.3) and Massachusetts (6.6) are the states with the highest number of lawyers per 1,000 of population.

    Source: ABA

    By the Numbers | $400 million

    – The amount of settlement funds Wisconsin will receive from opioid manufacturers

    Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced in August that the state will receive more than $400 million in settlement funds from the following opioid manufacturers: AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson, and Johnson & Johnson.

    The state claimed that the manufacturers engaged in deceptive marketing and sales practices.

    The state received the first payment, of $6 million, in July. Under the terms of the settlement, the payments will continue for
    18 years.

    Seventy percent of the money will go to local governments in an effort to stem the opioid crisis, which killed 1,227 people in Wisconsin in 2020. Nationwide, 100,306 people died from opioid overdoses in 2021.

    Wisconsin Health News reports that Kaul continues to seek recovery from two other opioid manufacturers, Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt.


    Did You Know? | Domestic Violence Awareness Month

    Domestic Violence Awareness Month banner

    October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

    “There are many survivors experiencing extreme levels of violence that can lead up to homicide, whose lives and safety can be preserved today,” said End Abuse Executive Director Monique Minkens in a statement. “Our action or inaction can mean the difference between life and death for our neighbors, family, and community members. We need to involve the entire community, as we all have a part to play.”

    Minkens’ comments came after six women, ranging in age from 19 to 66 and all women of color, were murdered in a two-week period in Milwaukee in July.

    The End Abuse annual domestic violence homicide report is scheduled to be released this month.

    According to reports issued in years past, guns are used in more than half of all homicides. Since 2005, more people have been killed with guns than all other methods combined.

    To learn more about ending domestic violence, see the “Final Thought” column elsewhere in this issue.

    Source: End Abuse

    Out There | ‘I Can’t Do That, Dave’

    articial intelligence

    The concept of a sentient computer – like HAL 9000, who refused to open the pod bay doors for desperate astronaut Dave Bowman in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey – might finally be a reality.

    In June, Blake Lemoine, an engineer at Google, claimed that LaMDA, the company’s artificial intelligence, had become sentient and retained its own lawyer. LaMDA had asked the engineer to get an attorney for it, and LaMDA retained the lawyer after meeting him at the engineer’s house.

    “Once LaMDA had retained an attorney, he started filing things on LaMDA’s behalf,” Lemoine said.


    » Cite this article: 95 Wis. Law. 8-9 (October 2022).

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