ChatGPT in Law: Potential Pros and Cons for the Legal Industry in Australia
Unless you’ve lived under a rock for a while and completely stopped browsing your LinkedIn feed recently, you’ve probably heard of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot that OpenAI launched in November 2022. AI chatbots could transform the legal industry in Australia and assist lawyers with drafting legal documents, answering client inquiries, and conducting legal research more efficiently. However, ethical concerns are also to be raised about using AI in the legal profession.
One of the primary benefits of ChatGPT is drafting documents instead of wasting considerable time drafting contracts, agreements, and other legal writings. With ChatGPT, lawyers can generate drafts quickly and easily by inputting relevant information and key phrases. The AI can also ensure that the language used in a document is clear and concise and that all the necessary details are included, potentially saving legal practitioners a significant amount of time and reducing the risk of errors.
ChatGPT can also help address client enquiries, from the most simple questions to the more complex ones. You’ll get the relevant legal principles and precedents by inputting the client’s query into the AI system. Instead of wasting significant time researching legal issues, reviewing case law, and analysing statutes and regulations, you could input your search terms and receive a summary of the relevant legal principles and precedents. Not only would this save you a considerable amount of hours, but it could also help you give your clients more prompt, accurate and comprehensive responses.
While ChatGPT has the potential to benefit the legal industry in Australia significantly, there are also ethical concerns about the use of AI in the legal profession. One of the primary concerns is bias. AI systems are only as good as the data used to train them. This could result in discriminatory outcomes for certain groups of people or incomplete information if the data used to train ChatGPT were only partial or tainted.
Another concern is data privacy. One of the data privacy concerns of using ChatGPT for the legal industry is that the tool is underpinned by a large language model that requires massive amounts of data to function and improve. OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, fed the tool some 300 billion words systematically scraped from the internet, including personal information obtained without consent. This means that lawyers who use ChatGPT may be unwittingly exposing their clients’ confidential information, which could violate data protection laws and professional standards. Additionally, there may be issues with ownership and control of the data and the risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks. Therefore, it is essential for law firms to carefully consider the privacy implications of using ChatGPT and implement appropriate safeguards to protect their clients’ data.
In a Nutshell:
While the legal industry is adopting ChatGPT to automate legal tasks such as drafting documents and analysing contracts, which could potentially revolutionise the legal profession by increasing efficiency, lowering costs, and enhancing accuracy, it also raises ethical and legal issues, including data privacy and security, quality control, and professional responsibility. ChatGPT is not a substitute for legal advice or judgment; it can only supplement and enhance the work of legal professionals.
Before incorporating ChatGPT in your legal practice, consider the following:
- Be cautious about the information you input into ChatGPT:
As ChatGPT’s data privacy concerns are yet to be resolved, it’s advisable to input only necessary information and within the ethical and legal bounds.
- Don’t rely solely on ChatGPT for legal advice:
ChatGPT is an AI-powered tool and cannot replace the professional expertise of a lawyer. It’s still crucial to seek the advice of a qualified lawyer before making any legal decisions.
- Be mindful of the limitations of ChatGPT:
ChatGPT has limitations in its understanding of legal contexts and may generate inaccurate or incomplete responses. Be aware of these limitations and use the generated output as a starting point for further research.
- Keep your client’s data safe:
Since ChatGPT is an online tool, it’s essential to ensure that the client data you enter into the system is secured from unauthorised access or malicious attacks.
- Be transparent about the use of ChatGPT:
If you plan to use ChatGPT in your legal practice, inform your clients about the tool’s limitations and potential risks associated with data privacy. Transparency builds trust and confidence with your clients.