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ChatGPT and Generative AI Legal Research Guide

Can Generative AI Systems Be Trusted for Legal Research/Writing?

Can Systems like ChatGPT be Trusted?

No! Since systems like ChatGPT operate by predicting the next word in a sentence and have no ability to judge whether a response is true or accurate in real life, the text and information they provide cannot be trusted. As with any technology, it is important to look at systems like ChatGPT with a critical eye and to recognize their limitations and potential inaccuracies.

Because of their reliance on predictive modeling, systems like ChatGPT often make up facts, case names, case citations, statutory text, URLs, article names, and other details in their responses.

Can ChatGPT-4 Be Trusted?

  • Despite the introduction of a beta version of Internet search functionality in ChatGPT-4, the paid subscription variant, there remain concerns about its reliability and trustworthiness.
  • All information provided by ChatGPT-4 needs to be verified.

Systems like ChatGPT are a Good Place to Start

  • Systems like ChatGPT should only be used as a cool tool to start your legal research, motion drafting, contract drafting, etc.
  • Each and every word produced by systems like ChatGPT needs to be verified.
  • This doesn't mean that systems like ChatGPT are useless for law practice. It just means that their responses must be treated exactly like any other secondary source material or sample form that a lawyer encounters.

Treat Text from Systems like ChatGPT the Same You Would Treat Text From Any Other Source

Always treat text from systems like ChatGPT the same as you would treat text from any other source. For example, no lawyer ever wants to draft anything without looking at samples on the topic. Even if you have a great motion that you used in the past or a sample motion from a very reputable publisher, it is just a place to start and should not be used without the usual due diligence and verification by:

  • Comparing it with other sample forms
  • Determining it is relevant for your jurisdiction
  • Updating the statutes and court rules
  • Researching to find any new relevant statutes or court rules
  • Updating the cases
  • Researching to find any new relevant cases
  • Generally researching to make sure you are not missing anything important
  • Researching to find decisions which rule on the type of motion to make sure you are using the best arguments
  • Etc., etc., etc.