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ChatGPT and Generative AI Legal Research Guide

Judges and Generative AI

US Judge Says No Sanction for Michael Cohen, Counsel for AI-Generated Fake Case Citation, Legaltech News, Jane Wester, March 20, 2024.

A U.S. District Judge in New York declined to sanction Michael Cohen or his attorney, despite their submission of citations to non-existent cases acquired from an AI program, determining the action was negligent but not in bad faith.

US appellate judge calls bans on AI use by lawyers 'misplaced', Reuters, Nate Raymond, April 5, 2024.

A federal appellate judge, John Nalbandian, questions the effectiveness of banning AI in legal practices, highlighting the potential benefits and improvements AI could bring, especially for those with limited resources. He suggests that requiring lawyers to disclose AI use might hinder the adoption of beneficial technology. The judge stresses that clients' demands for AI use in legal services will eventually drive its acceptance, emphasizing the technology's role in democratizing access to legal assistance.

Roberts Warns of AI ‘Dehumanizing the Law’ in Year-End Report, Devan Cole, CNN, December 31, 2023 

In his annual report, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts expressed concerns about artificial intelligence's growing role in the US judicial system. He acknowledged AI's potential to enhance access to information but cautioned against its risks, including privacy invasion and dehumanizing the law. While Roberts recognized AI's benefits in making courts more accessible, he emphasized the need for caution, citing a public perception of a 'human-AI fairness gap' and instances of AI errors, like citing non-existent cases. He encouraged the Judicial Conference to explore AI's appropriate uses in litigation, predicting that AI will significantly impact judicial work, especially at the trial level. 

Judge, Jury, and ChatGPT: Changing the Legal Landscape, Katy Allan, AI Magazine, December 14, 2023 

The Judicial Office in the UK has advised judges that AI, including ChatGPT, can be helpful in summarizing texts and administrative tasks but cautioned about its use in legal research. The article also discusses the potential for AI and deepfake technology to be misused in legal settings. 

Judges Reflect on GenAI Use One Year After ChatGPT's Debut, Shweta Watwe, November 28, 2023

This article examines how judges have adapted to the emergence of ChatGPT and other AI tools in the legal system. It discusses a range of approaches, from some judges banning AI use altogether to others implementing guidelines for responsible and transparent usage.

Judges Urge Attorneys to Use Generative AI With Caution, Law360, Sarah Martinson, September 8, 2023

Judges at the American Bar Association Business Law Section's fall meeting urged attorneys to understand and cautiously utilize generative AI for tasks like drafting initial documents, while avoiding its use for citations due to its tendency to produce incorrect information. They highlighted a case where attorneys faced sanctions for submitting a ChatGPT-generated brief with fake citations. Post incident, some judges have mandated disclosure of AI usage in court filings. Despite the caution, the panel encouraged embracing generative AI responsibly, in line with professional obligations, emphasizing that understanding and disclosure are key to harnessing the technology's benefits in legal practices.

Courts Need to Pay Attention to Generative AI, Not Ignore It, Law360, Sarah Martinson, August 17, 2023

Experts urge courts to prepare for challenges posed by generative AI, such as increased self-represented litigations, fabricated evidence, and the need for tech-savvy personnel, in a virtual event by the National Center for State Courts. Bridget McCormack of the American Arbitration Association criticized vague court orders on AI use and highlighted the potential of generative AI in democratizing law, despite the hurdles it brings. Casey Kennedy noted security risks like AI-powered phishing. They recommended engaging AI experts for evidence authentication and educating judicial staff to effectively handle the evolving technology, emphasizing proactive adaptation over dismissive or reactive stances.