Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard about the coming “AI revolution” and maybe even seen or played with some of the emerging technologies.

I’ll admit, the power of being able to ask for a picture depicting “Patrick Mahomes riding the back of an eagle while wearing his Chiefs uniform painted in the style of Monet” is a powerful draw for a person like me.

Of course, many enterprising minds have already found ways to take advantage of this emerging technology, so the time is now for the legal industry to take note.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a chatbot designed to mimic human conversation. Following its release in late 2022, The New York Times deemed it “the best artificial intelligence chatbot ever released to the general public”.

It’s powerful use of AI means it can also:

  • write and debug computer programs
  • compose music and student essays
  • answer test questions
  • play games like tic-tac-toe
  • and much more

Where is Chat GPT garnering attention?

Many of the headlines have been reserved for high school and college teachers worrying about students using AI to write term papers and essays on their behalf. While a real problem, there are already applications available to educators purporting to positively identify the tell-tale signs of AI written content.

However, if information security has taught us anything, it’s that for each improvement in catching people improperly using this technology, the bad guys will move one step ahead of the newest evasion techniques.

ChatGPT and the Law

As with most new technology, this too can be used for good or for bad.

If an attorney leverages ChatGPT to write their appeals brief and files the finished product without reading it or ensuring it adheres to the legal standards, that would be an obvious misuse of this technology.

But what if you use ChatGPT to speed up the legal research process, saving you time and your clients money?

You would still do all the legal work but the research to find case law supporting your argument now may only take minutes instead of hours.

In short, the application of ChatGPT and other AI-related products will largely determine whether they are good or bad. If we use this new technology to dumb ourselves down and to further outsource human thinking, I will argue it isn’t a great thing.

On the other hand, if legal professionals can utilize these technologies to become more efficient, provide as good or better work product, and to carry the same caseload while enjoying more time at home?

To me, that’s progress.