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Study Suggests Chatbots Could Lessen Legal Chores

 |  March 6, 2024

By: Vaidehi Mehta, Esq. (Findlaw)

Litigation attorneys, are you tired of drafting complaints? M&A lawyers, is typing up countless contracts giving you carpal tunnel? Well, there may be good news on the horizon for the legal field. A recent study suggests embracing generative artificial intelligence could alleviate the tedious tasks that plague many lawyers.

Since the emergence of ChatGPT, now a household name, nearly a year has passed. Professionals worldwide, including those in the legal industry, have wondered when AI will encroach upon their jobs. American law schools swiftly implemented policies against using AI in exams, assignments, or applications. Some attorneys experimented with chatbots to automate their brief writing, leading to mishaps like one instance where the software concocted fictitious court cases. Consequently, judges have banned AI from their courtrooms due to concerns about violating IP laws and potential legal repercussions.

Despite the proliferation of large language models following ChatGPT’s debut, fundamental questions about AI’s application remain unanswered. In the legal sphere, specific inquiries persist:

  • Will AI render human attorneys obsolete or enhance their efficiency?
  • Are there legal tasks AI is better suited for, and are there boundaries it shouldn’t cross?
  • How should legal education and jurisprudence adapt to AI’s increasing presence?

While opinions abound, hard data is scarce. Most existing studies focus on AI’s independent capabilities, like conducting legal analyses. To assess AI’s utility as a legal tool, students at the University of Minnesota Law School conducted a study to determine if law students could improve their tasks with chatbots.

The Experiment The Minnesota Law School study simulated routine tasks across various legal practices, including drafting a complaint, contract, employee handbook section, and client memo. Sixty law students from Minnesota, a top-ranked law school (currently #16), participated in the study. Participants received online training on using AI, specifically OpenAI’s ChatGPT powered by GPT-4.