A new study found that the popular AI chatbot GPT-4outperforms most aspiring lawyers on the legal ethics exam required by nearly every state in order to practice law, Karen Sloan reports.
GPT-4 answered 74% of the questions correctly on a simulated Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, compared with an estimated 68% average among human test takers nationwide, according to a report by LegalOn Technologies, which sells AI software that reviews contracts. GPT-4 is a large language model from Microsoft-backed OpenAI that generates human-like text based on user queries.
The study joins a growing body of research examining AI within legal education and attorney licensure. An earlier study found that the previous version of GPT-4 earned passing but not stellar scores on law school final exams, while another more recent study found that GPT-4 can pass the bar exam.
A spokesperson for the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which develops the ethics exam, said that it could not assess the LegalOn report’s claims, but noted that “attorneys have a unique set of skills that AI cannot currently match.”
The State Bar of Californiasold its 13-story San Francisco headquarters to a local real estate investment firm for $54 million, which is significantly less than the $85 million the bar sought for the 211,000-square-foot building earlier this year. State Bar officials said they would use proceeds from the building’s sale to cover budget shortfalls, after state lawmakers declined to approve attorney licensing fee increases in 2024.
President Joe BidennominatedNicole Berner, the general counsel of Service Employees International Union, to the 4th Circuit, and Patterson Belknap partner Adeel Mangi to the 3rd Circuit. If confirmed, Berner would become the first openly LGBTQ 4th Circuit judge and Mangi would become the first Muslim American federal appellate judge ever.
Florida is challenging a judge’s ruling that the state must cover $372,000 in legal fees for University of Florida professors who sued the state. Florida’s attorneys in a court filing said they will ask the 11th Circuit to weigh the award. The Florida attorney general’s office and attorneys for the professors at Debevoise did not respond to requests for comment.
A U.S. judge denied a motion by former Donald Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy to sanction law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher over allegations that one of its lawyers had a conflict of interest in defending a man accused of hacking Broidy’s emails.
A larger percentage of U.S. law firms signed leases that expanded their office square footage in 2023 compared with last year, according to Savills, as the legal industry continues to favor in-person work after the pandemic. Expansions represented 42.6% of law firm transactions signed through the third quarter of 2023, compared with 28.5% in all of 2022.
That’s how much of the plastic waste collected from sites along New York’s Buffalo River during a 2022 survey came from PepsiCo products, the largest proportion of any company, according to a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The lawsuit, one of the first filed by a state over single-use plastics, accuses the beverage and snack food giant of polluting the environment and endangering public health through its single-use plastic bottles, caps and wrappers. PepsiCo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If law professors’ signatures carried authoritative weight, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would already be drafting a new rule to prohibit the companies it regulates from requiring consumers to agree to arbitrate potential claims in advance of any actual dispute: Nearly 170 law professors signed a Nov. 14 letter urging the CFPB to act on a petition to adopt such a ban, but businesses regulated by the CFPB have a rather different view. Alison Frankel has the lowdownon the latest arbitration contretemps.
“There is no reason (other than taking Splenda’s money) for the ADA to recommend that people with diabetes add massive amounts of Splenda to cucumber salad.“
—Elizabeth Hanna, a former director of nutrition for the American Diabetes Association, who sued the nonprofit organization, accusing it of firing her for objecting to what she called a “pay to play” scheme to promote the no-calorie sweetener Splenda. Hanna said she lost her job after she refused to approve recipes on the Splenda website that are marked as endorsed as the ADA, including one for cucumber salad that contained ⅓ of a cup of the sweetener. The ADA and Splenda maker Heartland Food Products Group, which is not a defendant in the case, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Coming up today
A final pretrial conference is scheduled before U.S. District Judge William Young in a lawsuit by a former federal public defender in North Carolina suing the judiciary for violating her constitutional rights by being deliberately indifferent to her complaints of sexual harassment. Caryn Strickland alleges that she was sexually harassed by a superior and stonewalled in her efforts to have the judiciary address her complaint. She previously testified before Congress in favor of greater legal protections for the judiciary’s 30,000 employees, who unlike other workers are not protected against sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The 2nd Circuit is hearing arguments from now-defunct photo software application startup Phhhoto and its attorneys at Hausfeld in its bid to revive an antitrust lawsuit accusing Meta Platforms of driving it out of business. In March, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn federal court said that Phhhoto had failed to timely bring its claims under relevant U.S. antitrust law and New York state competition provisions.
Oral arguments will be held in New York before U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in the CIA’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it and its former director Mike Pompeo of using a Spanish security company to spy on journalists and lawyers who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Ecuador’s embassy in London. The CIA has argued that the 4th Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, does not apply to non-government actors, especially abroad.
Court calendars are subject to last-minute docket changes.
In the courts
The 5th Circuit ruled that Tesladid not violate U.S. labor law by prohibiting workers at its flagship Fremont, California, assembly plant from wearing pro-union T-shirts, reversing a 2022 NLRB decision. Tesla and the NLRB did not respond to requests for comment.
Precision oncology company Guardant Health was hit with an $83.4 million verdict from a jury in Delaware federal court, which found that its cancer-testing kits violate the patent rights of biotech company TwinStrand Biosciences and the University of Washington. Guardant co-founder and co-CEO Helmy Eltoukhy said in a statement the company disagrees with the decision and will appeal.
Lenovo, the world’s largest personal-computer maker, filed a lawsuit against Asus, claiming its Zenbook laptops infringe four Lenovo patents related to wireless communications, diagonal touchpad scrolling, and a hinge that allows a laptop to convert to a tablet configuration. Lenovo said it would not comment on pending litigation. Asus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Outdoor retailer REI was accused of dozens of violations of U.S. labor law at eight retail stores that have unionized since last year. Workers at stores in New York, California, Chicago and Boston, among others, filed a total of 80 complaints with the NLRB seeking to force the company to bargain with their unions.
Cozen O’Connor hired two former Stroock lawyers, including Jerry Goldfeder will be a senior counsel and lead a new political law and compliance practice. Kerry Cooperman, who was the director of Stroock’s pro bono program, joins Cozen as a commercial litigation partner. (Reuters)
Munger Tolles hired corporate partner Nikole Zoumberakis in Los Angeles from Buchalter. (Munger Tolles)
Locke Lord brought on Miami-based partner Maia Sevilla-Sharon for its health and managed care litigation practice. She arrives from DLA Piper. (Locke Lord)
Sidley added litigation partner Kevin Rubino in its San Francisco office. Rubino was most recently an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of California. (Sidley)
Katten picked up partner Lucy Kweskin for its insolvency and restructuring practice in New York. She most recently was at Mayer Brown. (Katten)
Bracewell hired oil and gas regulatory lawyer Eugene Elrod as a partner in D.C. Elrod arrives from Latham & Watkins. (Bracewell)
Weil added employment partner Peter Mee. Based in Boston, Mee was previously with Kirkland & Ellis. (Weil)