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ChatGPT and Generative AI Legal Research Guide

Uses in Legal Education

How Students Prepping for The Bar Exam Can Leverage AI, Law360, Joseph Wilson, May 18, 2023

Upon its release in November 2022, educators were skeptical about ChatGPT's utility, leading to its ban in several schools. However, perceptions shifted as some recognized its potential to support learning, exemplified by a California school deploying AI tutors for math help. Law students preparing for the bar exam have also found value in ChatGPT for creating study aids, generating practice questions, and improving essay writing. While ChatGPT offers creative study solutions, it's not without limitations; its outputs can be incorrect or superficial, requiring diligent fact-checking. The narrative encourages a balanced approach, using AI as a supplementary tool while adhering to traditional preparation methods for effective bar exam preparation.

AI Tools for Lawyers: A Practical Guide, Daniel Schwarcz and Jonathan H. Choi, SSRN, June 23, 2023 (108 Minnesota Law Review Headnotes (forthcoming, 2023))

This piece offers actionable and detailed advice for lawyers and law students on harnessing the power of AI large language models (LLMs) such as GPT-4, Bing Chat, and Bard for legal research and writing.

Is Resistance to AI in the Law School Classroom Futile?, Michael C. Dorf, Verdict, July 19, 2023 

A law professor reflects on the impact of AI on traditional law school assessments like exams and papers. As AI tools improve, the temptation for students to use these tools to complete assignments may grow. To tackle this, the professor plans to administer "closed-network" exams that allow students to access their notes and casebooks but not AI tools. For papers, he will continue supervising the work process as before. However, he acknowledges that when AI tools become capable of outperforming students, resistance might be futile and it might be more sensible to integrate AI usage in exams and teaching. 

Some Law Schools Already are Using ChatGPT to Teach Legal Research and Writing, ABA Journal, June 1, 2023

Law schools are beginning to incorporate ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, into their legal research and writing courses. While some academics believe that ChatGPT can assist in organizing complex concepts and improving the clarity of legal writing, others express concerns about its impact on students' development of writing skills and potential ethics violations if students rely on AI-generated work for graded assessments. The accuracy of ChatGPT is also questioned, as it lacks access to legal research platforms like LexisNexis and Westlaw, leading to potential inaccuracies in its responses. However, some researchers note that ChatGPT shows promise in identifying logical flaws in contract clauses and summarizing facts. Despite its limitations, legal professionals argue that AI-powered tools like ChatGPT can enhance contract drafting and improve efficiency in law firms, ultimately benefiting clients. As the technology advances, it is expected to play a more significant role in legal writing.

How Students Prepping For The Bar Exam Can Leverage AI, Law360, May 18, 2023

When ChatGPT was released, educators were skeptical and hostile towards AI tools, but attitudes began to change as they saw its potential for supporting learning. Law students can leverage ChatGPT for bar exam preparation in various ways:

  • ChatGPT can be used to develop study aids such as condensed outlines and flashcards.
  • ChatGPT can create mnemonics to aid in memorization.
  • ChatGPT can generate additional practice questions for exam preparation.
  • ChatGPT can assist in improving essay writing by providing feedback and model answers.
  • Students can role-play as bar exam graders with ChatGPT to enhance their understanding.
  • ChatGPT can be used to develop study aids like condensed outlines and flashcards.

However, there are limitations to consider. ChatGPT's information is not always reliable, and its responses can be vague. Students should fact-check and use ChatGPT as a supplement to traditional materials. It's important not to lose focus and prioritize consistent practice. While AI's role in bar exam prep is still evolving, developers must address concerns of accuracy and consistency.

Can ChatGPT Help Law Students Learn to Write Better?, ABA Journal, March 6, 2023

Legal writing faculty interviewed by the ABA Journal agree that ChatGPT writing can model good sentence structure and paragraph structure. However, some fear that it could detract from students learning good writing skills2. When completing basic research or trying to better understand class material, ChatGPT can function as a useful search engine.

What is ChatGPT and What Should Students Know About AI Chatbots?, University of Arizona Global Campus, March 6, 2023

The article explores the awareness of college students regarding artificial intelligence chatbots like ChatGPT. It discusses the potential benefits and drawbacks of such technology in education and highlights the need for better AI education and integration in the academic setting.

ChatGPT and Legal Writing: The Perfect Union?, SSRN, February 26, 2023

This article discusses the potential benefits of using AI-powered language models like ChatGPT in the field of legal writing. It highlights how incorporating such technology can improve the quality of legal writing and streamline work processes. ChatGPT can assist legal professionals by quickly producing high-quality drafts, summaries, and research notes, saving time and effort. It can also help identify gaps and inconsistencies in arguments, refine writing by providing alternative phrasings and suggestions, and make legal writing more clear, concise, and persuasive. The article emphasizes the importance of embracing AI-assisted legal writing and staying ahead of technological advancements in the legal profession.

How ChatGPT and Generative AI Impact Legal Writing and Research Courses, Association of Legal Writing Directors, February 17, 2023

A panel of law school legal writing professors shared their view that, as AI continues to improve, legal professionals will eventually transition from being writers to editors and fact-checkers. Even as AI-generated text is increasingly well-structured and coherent, it will still require human oversight to verify accuracy and ensure it aligns with the context and specific circumstances of each case. The presenters theorized that continual improvement of these systems will likely lead to a greater emphasis on teaching critical thinking, analytical skills, and research skills to fact check and find additional legal materials missed by AI.

How you should—and shouldn’t—use ChatGPT as a student, Open Universities Australia, February 16, 2023

The article discusses the ethical use of ChatGPT for students. It emphasizes responsible AI usage, such as not using AI to cheat on assignments or exams, respecting privacy and consent, and being aware of potential biases in AI-generated content. It encourages students to use AI as a tool for learning and collaboration while upholding academic integrity and ethical principles.

Law Students Assess Pros and Cons of ChatGPT as a Legal Research Too, Wisblawg, January 23, 2023

The article reports on a discussion among law students at UW Law School about ChatGPT, a tool that uses artificial intelligence to answer legal questions. The students evaluated the pros and cons of ChatGPT based on its accuracy, speed, reliability, ethics and usability. They concluded that ChatGPT has potential but also limitations and risks as a legal research tool.

Who’s Afraid of ChatGPT? An Examination of ChatGPT’s Implications for Legal Writing, SSRN, January 23, 2023

This article explores the implications of ChatGPT, an AI interface developed by OpenAI, for legal writing in law schools. The author conducted a series of legal research and writing tasks using ChatGPT, assessing its abilities and limitations. While some responses were impressive, others were inaccurate and cited nonexistent case law and statutes. The article also highlights the ethical concerns of relying on ChatGPT, as its potential for inaccuracy and false answers may violate professional conduct rules and compromise client confidentiality. However, the article suggests that ChatGPT can be used as a tool for specific tasks, such as identifying logical flaws in contract clauses and creating prompts for legal writing assignments. It concludes by emphasizing the need for further research into the evolving implications of artificial intelligence on legal writing.