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ChatGPT and Generative AI Legal Research Guide

Surveys of Lawyers About ChatGPT/Generative AI

Bloomberg (2024)

ANALYSIS: Legal Workers Use AI for Research, Despite Red Flags, Bloomberg Law, Stephanie Pacheco, April 4, 2024.

The article discusses the findings of Bloomberg Law's 2024 Legal Operations and Technology survey, which revealed that most legal professionals who have used generative AI in their practice have primarily used it for legal research and drafting/templating communication. While there have been instances of attorneys facing scrutiny for submitting AI-generated "caselaw" to courts, the survey results suggest that legal professionals are still exploring the use of generative AI for legal research, despite the usability concerns. The article notes that this exploration is a necessary part of the technology adoption process, similar to the previous adoption of eDiscovery technology.

Lighthouse (2024)

Attorneys Say AI Is More Promising Than Concerning, Lighthouse, Sarah Moran, April 4, 2024.

A recent survey of 268 eDiscovery professionals found widespread familiarity with generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Copilot, though only 20% reported their company/firm had adopted such AI business tools so far. Despite limited organizational adoption, there is broad interest in exploring AI for eDiscovery, with 87% expressing interest and over half having a positive attitude about AI's potential impact on the legal industry. The top perceived benefit was using AI to improve efficiency, scalability and outcomes of legal work. However, data security/privacy was a major concern raised. Many saw promise in leveraging AI to enhance document review and organization for eDiscovery, but stressed the need for strong oversight and policies to mitigate risks like breaching confidentiality or privilege. As the AI landscape rapidly evolves, the survey captures current attitudes and usage trends as legal professionals navigate responsibly incorporating AI capabilities into their work.

Thomson Reuters (January 2024)

2024 Report on the State of the US Legal Market: The challenge of targeting the right markets with the right offerings

The 2024 Report on the State of the US Legal Market, produced by Georgetown Law's Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession and the Thomson Reuters Institute, examines the significant transitions in the legal industry. Highlighting the shift since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-2011, the report identifies changes in demand for legal services, different strategies adopted by various law firm segments, and the potential impact of generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) on the legal profession. It draws a parallel with Pan Am Airways' downfall due to failing to adapt to market changes, suggesting law firms could face similar fates if they don't respond to evolving marketplace dynamics.

The report notes a shift from the "Transactional Decade" of the 2010s to increased demand for counter-cyclical practices like litigation, bankruptcy, and labor & employment. It also observes a rapid increase in law firm rate growth since 2023, exceeding 6%, and varying approaches to staffing, with larger firms reducing associates while midsize firms increase them. Challenges include faltering realization rates and clients shifting to lower-cost firms. Additionally, the report discusses potential scenarios for Gen AI's role in legal services, emphasizing the need for law firms to adapt to these technological advancements.

Wolters Kluwer (July 2023)

Generative AI in the Law: Where Could This All Be Headed?

"Key findings:

  • 62 percent of respondents believe that effective use of generative AI will separate successful law firms from unsuccessful firms within the next five years.  
  • More than 80 percent of all respondents agree that generative AI will create transformative efficiencies for research and routine tasks.
  •  Respondents are less convinced that AI will transform high-level legal work: 31 percent agree that this will happen, while 50 percent disagree.
  •  More than two-thirds of respondents believe that document review lawyers and librarians or others involved in knowledge management and research are at risk of obsolescence because of generative AI.  
  • Practice areas that are most likely to be affected by generative AI, according to respondents, include corporate, trusts & estates, litigation, intellectual property, and tax.  
  • Practice areas that are least likely to be affected by generative AI, according to respondents, include criminal/white collar law and environmental/energy law."

Litify (July 2023)

62% of Legal Professionals Are Not Using AI — And Feel The Industry Is Not Ready For The Technology, Sabrina I. Pacifici, beSpacific, Jul 30, 2023 

Litify released the 2023 State of AI Report, detailing AI's use and impact on the legal sector. Commissioned by an independent firm, the report found that 62% of legal professionals aren't using AI, with 60% feeling the industry isn't ready. Barriers include security and privacy concerns and lack of staff knowledge. However, among those using AI, 95% are saving time, primarily in document management. While there's recognition of the transformative potential of AI in legal work, with 75% believing AI will positively impact the industry, the report highlights significant reluctance and indicates more readiness work is needed.

Thomson Reuters Report (April 2023)

ChatGPT and Generative AI within Law Firms

In March of 2023, the Thomson Reuters Institute conducted a survey of over 440 lawyers from large and midsize law firms in the US, UK, and Canada, gathering insights on ChatGPT and generative AI's applicability in legal work. The survey found that 82% believed that the technology can be applied to legal work, and 51% thought it should be applied. Approximately 15% of respondents reported that their firms had warned employees against unauthorized use of generative AI, and 6% had banned it entirely, indicating a recognition of the importance of applying controls to its use. The survey also found that 62% of respondents had concerns about using ChatGPT and generative AI at work, including 80% of partners or managing partners.

LexisNexis Survey (March 2023)

Generative AI Captures Imagination of Lawyers, Law Students, Consumers Alike, LexisNexis, March 20, 2023

In March 2023, a survey was conducted among 1,176 US lawyers, 1,239 law students, and 1,765 consumers, which demonstrated that the legal market has a much higher awareness of generative AI than the general population, with 88% of lawyers being aware compared to 57% of consumers. The survey found that 32% of consumers had used generative AI, and of these, 15% had tried it for legal advice or assistance. In contrast, 86% of lawyers were aware of the technology, with 51% having used it or planning to do so. The reason for this is that 84% of lawyers believe generative AI tools can enhance the efficiency of lawyers, paralegals, or law clerks. Moreover, 61% of lawyers and 44% of law students believe that generative AI will transform law schools and the way law is taught and studied, indicating that its impact will go beyond just the practice of law.