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Is “ChatGPT” a Threat to Lawyers and Law Firms?

As a law firm owner, you closely monitor the latest legal developments. There has been a lot of talk about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the industry, and one AI language model in particular, called “ChatGPT”, has been getting a lot of attention. This has left many legal professionals wondering whether ChatGPT poses a threat to lawyers and law firms. Let’s explore this topic further.


What is ChatGPT?

First, let’s get acquainted with ChatGPT. This technology is an AI language model built on the GPT-3 architecture created by OpenAI. It underwent extensive training on large amounts of text data, allowing it to produce responses that resemble those of humans when presented with different prompts.


In this article, we will delve into how lawyers can use ChatGPT responsibly by outlining its benefits, limitations, and risks:


Exploring the benefits

Here are some ways ChatGPT can benefit your practice:

  1. Drafting and Document Review: ChatGPT can assist in drafting starting points for contracts, legal briefs, and other documents by providing valuable insights and language suggestions. However, you must always consult and confirm with other sources, verify the information’s authenticity, and ensure that it is up to date. If you would rather have a system specifically built to help lawyers, consider using CoreMatter instead.
  2. Virtual Assistant: With ChatGPT at your disposal, you’ll have a virtual legal assistant available to answer basic queries.
  3. Data Analysis: Although ChatGPT can analyze large amounts of information, sometimes it can be a wildcard. If you’re considering using ChatGPT to help your firm analyze large datasets, spot trends, and predict outcomes for your consideration, consider other AI-driven Legal Technologies like Lexworplace, LexCheck, LawDroid, or Everlaw.


Considering the Risks

ChatGPT doesn’t come without risks:

  1. Fake Citations: Earlier this year, a US judge fined two lawyers and a law firm $5,000 (£3,935) after fake citations generated by ChatGPT were submitted in a court filing. 
  2. Information Leak: Sensitive data shared with ChatGPT could end up being served to other users, just like in the case of an accidental leak of sensitive internal source code by a Samsung engineer.
  3. Limited Capabilities: OpenAI has stated that ChatGPT may still be inaccurate, untruthful, and even misleading, especially since it is not connected to the latest global data from the internet and trained fully for all applications. This is critical because lawyers depend on specific up-to-date answers under particular jurisdictions.
  4. Inability to solve nuanced cases: ChatGPT may not be able to solve nuanced situations as it operates based on statistical patterns derived from the information it was trained on, rather than human reasoning.
  5. Not designed for legal use: The interpretation of legal documents is a complex task as it requires considering legal principles, context, intent of the parties, case law, nature of the transaction, and business, among multiple other factors.
  6. Confidentiality issues: When using ChatGPT, any information you share or access online may be collected. Choosing reliable AI providers who prioritize data privacy and follow ethical AI practices is crucial if you’re considering AI solutions.


In a nutshell,

ChatGPT can be a useful tool for lawyers in its own limited way. It isn’t a threat for now as it operates on old patterns and data and cannot reason and read nuances as humans do. Therefore, lawyers must use it carefully and double-check information from alternative sources. Additionally, there are ethical and confidentiality issues to consider. Nonetheless, ChatGPT can enhance a law firm’s performance if used responsibly.


Disclaimer: Please note that although AI language models such as ChatGPT have impressive abilities, they should not be seen as a replacement for professional legal advice. Always seek advice from qualified legal professionals for personalized and accurate legal counsel.



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