The Legal Ramifications of ChatGPT and Other AI Technology

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect views of the Journal, the William H. Bowen School of Law, or UA Little Rock. 

By: Macey Rodgers

As technology continues to progress, people are finding ways to make their work and life easier on a day-to-day basis. AI technology is one of these ways. AI, or artificial intelligence, is designed to simulate human intelligence and complete certain tasks such as voice recognition and system searches. AI is constantly changing and being fine-tuned to create the most user-friendly experiences.

Systems such as ChatGPT, Gamma AI, and even the newest AI launch, Snapchat’s AI bot, all create experiences for individuals to interact with. ChatGPT allows users to type in any question and ChatGPT will generate an answer for it. Users can also ask it to write articles about certain topics with specific parameters and ChatGPT will generate the article within those guidelines. Gamma AI allows users to create presentations, slideshows, and other visual aids within minutes. Similar to ChatGPT, Gamma AI has users put in the requested information and the AI technology will form a complete presentation based on that topic. Snapchat’s AI bot allows Snapchat users to chat with the bot and answer any questions or carry on a conversation with the bot. This bot is linked with ChatGPT technology.

So what does all this mean for the legal community? Can I ask for legal advice and receive an accurate response?  What does this mean for attorneys who use the technology to draft letters and pleadings? Can I search for case law on a certain topic? Will this eliminate the need for support staff in law firms?

According to John Villasenor, AI technology has the power to completely reshape the legal community. He believes the technology is capable of completing highly skilled tasks that would take experienced attorneys hours to complete, such as draft documents, case law research, and even creating legal arguments. Although attorneys will still be needed to review drafts and check cites, drafting and research processes will be cut to virtually no time at all. For highly technical tasks, such as corporate contract drafting and commercial real estate document drafting, AI will be able to create initial drafts and research provisions that should be included in the documents. More than anything, AI will allow attorneys to cut down on time spent on tasks significantly.

The risk with cutting down time so significantly is that most attorneys’ salaries directly correspond to their hours billed. If the number of hours drastically decreases because of technology that now essentially does the work for them, will attorneys make less money? Will they just find more work to complete? Will their billing rates increase significantly?

Another concern with AI technology in law firms is the ethical dilemmas. If a lawyer uses AI technology for research and the technology provides inaccurate information resulting in a negative result for the client, will the attorney still have provided competent representation? This dilemma has partially been resolved because in 2012, a comment was added to the ABA Rule regarding competence stating that attorneys must understand the risks associated with relevant technology in order to be deemed to have provided competent representation.

AI is a new form of technology that is bound to greatly impact the day to day lives of individuals and many industries, including law. Since the technology is new, it is unclear whether it will be an asset to firms or hindrance to attorneys.

Posted in: Blog Posts, Legal Comentary

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