People long associated AI with the far future: sleek robots roaming hallways or intimidating robot overlords monitoring everything you say and do. Yet, AI is here, and it’s not so dramatic as that. With the invention of ChatGBT and other AI software, many people assume that jobs like content writing and lawyers will be rendered irrelevant. However, while fun to mess around with, ChatGBT cannot be your attorney.
What Is ChatGBT?
First things first, let’s touch on what ChatGBT is. It is a chatbot made by OpenAI that is a cross between a search engine and one of those automated help bots on sites. However, unlike either of these, ChatGBT is a natural language processing model. It is trained to understand what humans mean by questions and to answer said questions in a conversational manner.
It can write code, generate a blog post, and even provide answers to legal questions.
Can You Use ChatGBT Instead Of Going To An Attorney?
Lawyers can be expensive. For now, ChatGBT is free – and available 24/7. Since you aren’t talking to an actual person, this can cause people to feel more comfortable being more open about sensitive legal issues with an AI versus a human lawyer. It also provides prompt answers to questions, though depending on the question, it may take a few seconds to generate a response.
This combined with how thorough its answers seem to be to legal questions makes some people wonder whether or not you even need to go to an attorney for legal advice or if you can just use AI.
In short: no. You definitely cannot use ChatGBT instead of going to an attorney.
Why Can’t You Use ChatGBT Instead Of An Attorney?
AI cannot be used to make legal decisions and cannot be substituted for going to an attorney for legal counsel. There are many reasons for this.
Lack Of Personalized Advice
It cannot give you personalized advice or answer any complex questions that need analysis. What you see online may not be the best course of action for you, depending on your circumstances and the details of your case.
Lack Of Empathy
AI is not human, so ergo, it lacks that necessary human touch that so many legal cases necessitate. It will not give you emotional support.
Lack Of Expertise
ChatGBT also does not have the experience that a human lawyer has. Human lawyers rely on their extensive education and experience in order to help you as best they can. Since AI lacks expertise, it can also be inaccurate in the information it gives you.
Lack Of Judgment
Legal cases typically have a lot of nuance to them. This means that lawyers need a lot of experience, skill, and information in order to make judgment calls for your case. AI doesn’t have this; it just gives you answers without understanding the nuances of the situation.
Black And White Answers
In the legal world, answers to your questions are seldom simple and easy. Cases have people arguing both for and against them. AI just spits out answers, but attorneys look at the details to represent you well.
Law Is A Social Construct
It’s made by humans and enforced by humans. It’s constantly changing and evolving. AI doesn’t understand social constructs, just machine learning, so it lacks the complex thinking and creativity required in order to address legal issues.
Is Using AI An Unauthorized Practice Of Law?
It is also important to consider whether or not using an AI for legal purposes would constitute the unauthorized practice of law. Some courts have found that software can engage in the unauthorized practice of law, as in Janson v. LegalZoom.com. If the AI makes decisions on your behalf, such as limiting the options available to you, regardless of whether or not it charges a fee, it could be engaging in this.
While you can turn to AI for general legal information and answers to basic questions, AI, like ChatGPT, cannot be your attorney. It cannot give you advice specific to your situation and lacks the human touch many legal matters require. If you have specific questions or need legal counsel, you will need to consult with a licensed human attorney.
Be Wary Of The Information ChatGBT Gives You
This is especially important to keep in mind because while ChatGBT can give answers to questions that could seem plausible, the actual answer could be wildly incorrect and completely nonsensical. This is something that OpenAI freely admits and cautions users about.
What OpenAI Has To Say
OpenAI states in a blog post that: “ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers. Fixing this issue is challenging, as: (1) during RL training, there’s currently no source of truth; (2) training the model to be more cautious causes it to decline questions that it can answer correctly; and (3) supervised training misleads the model because the ideal answer depends on what the model knows, rather than what the human demonstrator knows.”
What ChatGBT Has To Say
ChatGPT itself states that: “While CHAT-GPT3 is capable of generating a wide range of text, including text that relates to legal information or advice, it is important to note that it is not a legal expert and cannot provide accurate or reliable legal information or advice.”
No Information Past 2021
Something that is also useful to bear in mind about the answers ChatGBT gives you about any legal questions you ask it is that it does not have information past 2021. Thus, it won’t know about any cases from 2022 and beyond or any changes to the law since then. This is another way in which any legal “advice” you get from it could be wrong.
AI can also exhibit bias, as noted by the ABA. This can cause it to display discriminatory behaviors. Bias audits and workplace guideposts given by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) provide ways for employers to ensure that the use of artificial intelligence in the workplace remains in compliance with federal policies.
However, when you are using ChatGBT on your own, you may still get bias in the information it gives you. This can be harmful to you, as well as cause the information you receive to not be accurate.
Can Lawyers Use ChatGBT?
The American Bar Association (ABA) states that firms can use AI in order to streamline some of their work, but their workplace practices must be consistent with federal policies. There are law firms that currently use AI in order to make some of the more mundane aspects of their work more efficient.
Some of the ways that attorneys can use ChatGBT include:
- Creating drafts of legal documents and correspondences.
- Researching relevant case law.
- Retrieve answers to common legal questions.
Of course, there are limitations to this, as mentioned in the above section. However, AI can help lawyers save time in some aspects of their work. Any information it pulls up will need to be fact-checked, but there is potential for it to help in the research process and for creating correspondences like cease and desist letters.
So, while attorneys can use AI in some aspects of their job, AI is by no means a replacement for human attorneys. If you need an attorney, you need to see a human lawyer.
Do You Need Legal Representation?
If you need legal representation, the best course of action is to consult with human attorneys, such as the team here at Kaufman, Nichols, and Kaufman. We take to time to listen to you, understand what you are seeking, and will be able to advise you on whether or not you have a case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.