Lawyers aren’t robots… warning about ChatGPT

ChatGPT has taken the world by storm, and even though most of us don’t really understand what it is and what it does – many of us have had a play with it, and are trying to incorporate it into our lives.

This backfired recently for an experienced lawyer in New York – who is now facing court sanctions for relying on information using ChatGPT when preparing and submitting documents for one of his clients in a hearing.

The lawyer asked ChatGPT to provide some case law to support his client’s argument. He then asked ChatGPT further questions, including ‘is this a real case?’ and ‘what is your source?’ ChatGPT, who warns at the outset that the information it provides can be unreliable, did confirm at the time during the lawyer’s searches that they were real cases, and it also provided links to a couple of online databases.

When the lawyer attended court for the hearing, the judge and other parties asked where the cases he relied on could be found – it was then that they discovered that the cases were not real. In fact six of the cases and citations were found to be completely made up!

The clients in that case were obviously unimpressed with their lawyer, as was the judge. The lawyer has apologised and says he deeply regrets relying on artificial intelligence… in lieu of his own.

*ChatGPT was not used when writing this blog

Aimee Brazel
Aimee Brazel

21 Jun, 2023

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