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Embracing AI in Appellate Briefing: Capitalizing on Benefits While Mitigating Risks and Avoiding Ethics Traps

This webinar includes 30 minutes of ethics credit.

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will discuss how appellate lawyers might efficiently and ethically use machine learning and generative artificial intelligence to create more persuasive and better written briefs. The panel will address the possible use of AI by judges or jurors.


According to a 2020 state bar magazine article about generative AI, "client demands for speed and efficiency along with competition from European and Chinese law firms will push American lawyers to embrace a new way of doing things, which will include how they go about writing."

When considering AI applications, lawyers must first understand the difference between various types of algorithmic operations, machine learning, and generative AI, including how the major online legal research programs operate and if these are different from generative AI, such as ChatGPT. Lawyers must also understand what the various search engines are able to produce as far as search results and even document production.

In addition, lawyers also need to know the ethical rules, boundaries, and limitations of AI to avoid sanctions and malpractice. So far two states have issued ethics opinions on the use of AI, and a number of federal judges have their own individual rules.

Of particular interest to appellate lawyers is how AI could possibly affect strategic decisions about which issues are most likely to be outcome-determinative by revising massive numbers of decisions decided by specific judges or panels. They may also be required to anticipate the use of AI by judges or juries.

Listen as this experienced panel of appellate attorneys and legal writing expert offers guidance about best practices for using AI when drafting appellate briefs.



  1. Introduction
    1. Legal technology landscape
    2. Mechanics of ChatGPT and generative tools
    3. Limitations and problems with generative tools
    4. Contrasted with traditional online research
  2. Ethics issues
    1. Relevant rules of professional responsibility
    2. State bar ethics opinions
    3. Rules from individual judges
    4. Cautionary tales
  3. Use cases
    1. Issue selection
    2. Researching
    3. Drafting and editing


The panel will consider these and other important issues:

  • How can AI assist in legal decision-making, risk assessment, prediction of case outcomes, and selection of issues for appeal?
  • What are the limitations of AI in doing legal research, and what skills are necessary to use AI in a beneficial way?
  • Is sentiment analysis of judicial decisions or questions during oral argument useful?
  • Can recordings of oral arguments be subjected to AI, and if so what useful information might be gleaned?


Colantuono, Michael
Michael G. Colantuono

Managing Shareholder
Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley

Mr. Colantuono is a certified Appellate Specialist in the State Bar of California. He offers advice and litigation for...  |  Read More

Mika, Karin
Karin Mika

Senior Legal Writing Professor
Cleveland State University, College of Law

Professor Mika has been associated with the Cleveland-Marshall Legal Writing Program since 1988. She presents...  |  Read More

Voigts, Anne
Anne M. Voigts

King & Spalding

Ms. Voigts has worked on cases before the United States Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and federal and...  |  Read More

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