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Scientific American

MIT researchers have found that lawyers prefer, and better understand, simplified texts, rather than legalese, reports Jesse Greenspan for Scientific American. “The researchers presented 105 U.S. attorneys with contract excerpts written in both “legalese” and plain English and tested their comprehension and recall for each,” explains Greenspan. “While the attorneys outperformed laypeople overall, they still found the legalese contracts harder to grasp than those written in plain English.”


Researchers at MIT have found that lawyers “have an easier time remembering legal documents written in simple English over those filled with so-called legalese,” reports Ed Cara for Gizmodo. “On average, for instance, lawyers scored 45% on a test that asked them to recall documents written in legalese, compared to the average 38% scored by nonlawyers,” explains Cara. “But the lawyers’ score also increased to over 50% when they were given the simplified version.”  


At MIT’s AI Policy Forum Summit, which was focused on exploring the challenges facing the implementation of AI technologies across a variety of sectors, SEC Chair Gary Gensler and MIT Schwarzman College of Computing Dean Daniel Huttenlocher discussed the impact of AI on the world of finance. “If someone is relying on open-AI, that's a concentrated risk and a lot of fintech companies can build on top of it,” Gensler said. “Then you have a node that's every bit as systemically relevant as maybe a stock exchange."


Wired reporter Will Knight spotlights a study by researchers from MIT and other universities that finds judges are turning to Wikipedia for guidance when making legal decisions. “The researchers also found evidence that the use of Wikipedia reflects an already stretched system,” writes Knight. “The legal decisions that included Wikipedia-influenced citations were most often seen in the lower courts, which they suspect reflects how overworked the judges are.”


Researchers from CSAIL and elsewhere have found that Irish judges are using Wikipedia articles as a source in their rulings, reports Shane Phelan for Independent. “This work shows that Wikipedia reaches even farther than that, into high-stakes, formalized processes like legal judgments,” says research scientist Neil Thompson. “The worst outcome would be for a judge’s reliance on Wikipedia to lead them to decide a case differently than they would have if they had read either an expert secondary source or the cited precedent itself.”

Popular Science

Researchers from CSAIL, Cornell University, and Maynooth University have released a study concluding that judges in Ireland are utilizing Wikipedia articles to help inform their decisions, reports Colleen Hagerty for Popular Science. Based on their findings, the researchers suggest “the legal community increases its efforts to monitor and fact-check legal information posted on Wikipedia.” 


Michelle Nuñez ’04 shares her advice on how to best approach mentoring and how a supportive mentor can impact a lawyer’s career as part of Bloomberg Law’s “Why Mentoring Matters” series. “As the legal industry evolves, strong mentorship and relationships will continue to be vital to a successful practice of law,” says Nuñez, “and I will continue to encourage my colleagues to seek out meaningful mentor-mentee relationships over the course of their careers.”  


Reporting for WBUR, Katie Lannan writes that Dalila Argaez Wendlandt SM ’93 has been confirmed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and will be the state’s first Latina high court justice. Lannan notes that Wendlandt “earned an MIT master's degree in engineering before embarking on a law career.”

The Boston Globe

Judge Dalila Argaez Wendlandt SM ’93 has been confirmed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, reports Matt Stout for The Boston Globe. Gov. Charlie Baker noted that Wendlandt will bring “intellectual horsepower, kindness, and grace” to the court.

Associated Press

AP reporter Mark Pratt writes that Gov. Charlie Baker has nominated Dalila Argaez Wendlandt SM ’93 to fill an open seat on the state’s highest court. Pratt writes that Baker noted, “Wendlandt’s background in science and the law gives her a unique perspective.” 


Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has nominated Dalila Argaez Wendlandt SM ’93 to the Supreme Judicial Court, reports Katie Lannan for WBUR. "Engineering requires you to look at the data and follow it where it goes, and to roll up your sleeves when there's a problem that looks like it's unsolvable," says Wendlandt. "For me the law is very similar especially when you do high-end legal work. Often, the answer is not clear, but if you're confident in your skills, you roll up your sleeves, you bring out the big guns and you just do your job."

Radio Boston (WBUR)

Alumna Michelle Lee, director of the USPTO, speaks with Radio Boston’s Anthony Brooks during a trip to Boston to speak at MIT about patents and innovation. Lee noted her commitment to encouraging more females to pursue STEM fields because “you never know who’s going to start that next company that’s going to revolutionize the world.” 


Ray Brescia writes for The Huffington Post about a new paper co-authored by Prof. Frank Levy that examines the impact of automation on lawyers. The research suggests that, “at the core of what we value the most about the practice of law are things that lawyers can do better than computers.”

Boston Globe

In a letter to The Boston Globe, Lisa Arrowood, president of the Boston Bar Association, commends MIT’s decision “to speak out in favor of race-conscious admissions policies in higher education.” Arrowood writes that these policies help foster diversity in higher education.


Nihdi Subbaraman reports for BetaBoston on the legal clinics MIT and BU have started providing to student entrepreneurs. “The Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property Clinic is intended to serve as a place where startup founders can seek basic advice about how to register their company or how to distribute ownership to multiple founders,” writes Subbaraman.