Recently, OpenAI — the artificial intelligence company developing ChatGPT — invited the public to a demo of its chatbot. After several media outlets sampled the new AI bot, headlines started popping up:
With all that buzz, everyone in the legal industry started wondering if ChatGPT would replace lawyers and make them obsolete.
No one can accurately predict the future. However, we can shed some light on the roles ChatGPT may and may not perform in law firms by examining OpenAI, its notorious chatbot, ChatGPT, and how its development will affect the legal profession.
OpenAI is a non-profit research company that has long voiced an ambitious vision for safely guiding artificial general intelligence as a way to benefit humanity. Elon Musk and Sam Altman founded the company in 2015 to create highly autonomous systems to outperform humans at most economically valuable works.
The company’s tools, such as ChatGPT, are free to use. However, the masses have flooded the platform, which might hinder you from getting in.
ChatGPT is a chatbot that simulates human conversation to solve users’ queries. The advanced conversational capabilities of ChatGPT have created quite the buzz as the chatbot not only answers questions but can help people with tasks such as:
The tool is very easy to use. You only have to type or speak your request on the ChatGPT website, and the AI bot will generate answers for you.
ChatGPT is showing a significant impact on the practice of law. The tool could disrupt the way legal professionals get work done.
While still under development, law firms can use ChatGPT to generate marketing content and draft documents always used in law offices, such as:
However, your result from ChatGPT will be a very rough draft and require multiple edits.
What appears to trouble many law professionals is the development of a bot lawyer. Some legal companies have already leveraged ChatGPT and created an AI lawyer to support their legal clients.
For instance, DoNotPay’s CEO, Joshua Browder, made a lofty offer of $1,000,000 to any lawyer that can let DoNotPay’s AI lawyer (that uses a variant of ChatGPT technology called OpenAI GPT-3) argue a case in front of the Supreme Court on their behalf. The bot has the making of an advocate.
The offer requires the human lawyer to wear AirPods and repeat the “AI lawyer’s” argument in a Supreme Court hearing.
One hurdle that limits lawyers from leveraging this offer is that the Supreme Court banned attendees from using electronic devices in the courtroom. However, the intent remains that AI will play a significant role in the legal system in the future.
Beyond the limitation of using an electronic device in the courtroom, ChatGPT still faces some more obstacles in the legal industry, including:
Unless ChatGPT stops storing, sharing, and using sensitive information from your legal firm, it remains an illegible option to replace human lawyers.
While fully implementing ChatGPT faces some ethical and compliance hurdles, responsible technology deployment can positively affect your business performance. Using technology correctly can streamline your legal tasks, help you imprint your expertise on tasks that matter most, and save you time.
However, you should assess and implement technology responsibly to prevent you from breaching your ethical obligations, protect your client’s interest, and build a good reputation. In the law, a good reputation will give you more influence than any amount of short-term relevance.
Artificial intelligence isn’t going to replace human lawyers any time soon. While AI chatbots show pretty solid effort, it’s safe to conclude that the bot is unlikely to put lawyers out of work, now or ever.
However, for more routine legal tasks, ChatGPT offers a significant potential to address access to justice questions, making legal services available to people with limited means.