Feeling like your to-do list never seems to end? Whether it’s checking contracts, looking at cases, or dealing with emails you haven’t answered yet, the legal job usually means lots of work and long hours. But what if there was a way to get help from a computer friend? This could free you up to do more important stuff and have a better balance between work and the rest of your life.
Generative AI isn’t just some new fancy thing. It’s like having a new coworker that’s a computer. Many law firms already use this computer help to get better at their jobs. This computer friend can assist with making legal papers and doing really thorough research.
Using AI in Law Lawyers often don’t really like using new computer stuff, like generative AI tools such as ChatGPT and Google Bard. They worry about rules saying they can’t use these tools and that it’s not right. Even some important courts and law schools have said you can’t use them much. But a person who really likes tech for law, Joseph Russell, says we should use these computer helpers. He thinks they’re useful to get work done faster and better. She says it’s like how people in the past didn’t like new things at first, but then they saw the good parts.
However, there have been times when people used ChatGPT in law and it didn’t work well. Some people counted too much on it to find legal information, but the info wasn’t always right. This got them in trouble.
Good and Not-So-Good Parts of AI Using generative AI for law is a good idea, but we also need to think about some important things:
- Getting things right: Lawyers need to check if the computer’s advice is correct and be responsible for it.
- Keeping information private: Lawyers have to make sure that private information is kept safe when using computers.
- Making computer stuff clear: Lawyers need to understand how the computer comes up with answers and explain it in a way that makes sense.
- Being responsible: Lawyers have to know who’s responsible if the computer messes up or gives wrong information. They should also let clients know when they’re using AI so everyone understands what’s happening.
Using AI in a Smart Way If we set up some rules, using AI can help lawyers with their busy work. A simple test showed that AI ChatGPT and a human IP lawyer were equally good at making articles about the legal parts of using AI at work. The computer was faster and easier to read, while the human went into more detail and didn’t repeat things. This test showed that computers can be really useful, but we have to know how to use them right.
As technology changes the legal field, using AI can make things better, as long as we do it the right way and in a way that’s fair.
The Incredible Power of AI: Making Legal Work Faster and Smarter
AI, which stands for Artificial Intelligence, isn’t just changing how lawyers work—it’s changing it completely. AI can do more than just automate tasks; it’s reshaping the way lawyers do their job.
- Better Sorting Through Information: One big advantage of AI is that it can quickly and accurately go through a lot of information. This not only saves time but also helps lawyers understand the complicated legal world much better.
- Spotting Patterns: AI is really good at finding patterns. Using special computer rules, AI can find connections in lots of information that people might miss. This helps predict what might happen in legal cases, figure out risks, and come up with strong legal plans.
- Saving Money: Using AI in law work can save a lot of money. By having AI do tasks and work more efficiently, law firms can use their time and money better. This helps the firms do things that are more important and helpful for their clients.
So, how does this AI revolution actually happen? Well, many AI programs are already helping law firms every day.
Writing Legal Papers & Reviewing Cases
For example, there’s a program called Harvey AI. It’s like a mix of talking with a computer and letting it learn from lots of legal documents. It helps law firms understand contracts, check if everything’s okay, and follow the rules. Another cool program, Auto-GPT, is like a computer that writes and makes decisions on its own. It helps read legal papers faster and picks out the important parts.
AI is also good at helping lawyers find the right legal information. Programs like Casetext use AI tricks to quickly find important cases and laws.
A team effort by OpenAI and Casetext made CoCounsel, an AI helper just for lawyers. Blue J L&E is another AI program. It uses AI to guess what will happen in a legal case and understand hard legal questions. It looks at all the details, not just the simple words.
AI is no longer just a cool tech thing; it’s changing how lawyers do their job. As lawyers start using AI more, they’re making the legal world faster, more creative, and better at solving problems. The way lawyers work is changing, thanks to AI.
Using Generative AI with Better Prompts
Getting the Most from AI Writing Getting AI to write better means giving it clear instructions. This is really important in the legal field. Being good at coming up with these instructions sets you apart from others. But, there isn’t just one way to prompt things. The AI tools that create stuff aren’t perfect. They sometimes give different answers for the same question, and they can’t fix made-up things or unfairness in the information they’ve learned from.
Here are the main things you need in a good prompt:
- Explain the Job: “You’re a legal expert who helps with research…”
- Make Goals Clear: “…your job is to make short summaries of important legal ideas from these court cases about treating people unfairly at work.”
- Give Background: “The cases are about treating people unfairly at work based on their age.”
- Be Precise: “Know that one case is from a big Circuit Court, another is from the top Supreme Court, and the last is from a State Court. Say where each case is from in your summaries.”
- Tell the Format: “Write the summaries using bullet points. Show the main legal ideas, what the court thought, and what happens because of each decision.”
- Use Examples: “It’s great if you write like the short and clear style in the summaries from the ‘Legal Information Institute’.”
This is what the whole prompt could look like when you put it all together:
You’re a professional at legal research, and you need to make short summaries of important legal ideas from these court cases: Case A, Case B, and Case C. All of these cases are about treating people unfairly at work based on their age. Know that one case is from a big Circuit Court, another is from the top Supreme Court, and the last is from a State Court. Say where each case is from in your summaries. Write the summaries using bullet points. Show the main legal ideas, what the court thought, and what happens because of each decision. It’s great if you write like the short and clear style in the summaries from the ‘Legal Information Institute’.
You might need to give the AI the main text for a prompt like this. To be safe, always check if the AI’s answers make sense.
Ideas for Making Prompts:
- In the first prompt, explain what you want.
- Ask one thing at a time.
- For hard stuff, break it into easier parts.
- Use simple words, not hard legal words.
- Make sure the AI’s answers are right.
Practical Examples of How AI Can Help at a Law Firm
AI technology is changing how lawyers work on tasks they used to spend a lot of time doing. From writing legal papers to checking cases, AI can make things smoother and help lawyers work on more important jobs.
Here are six things you can ask AI to help with at your law firm:
- Making Legal Papers Better and Faster
Prompt: “You’re an expert in legal contracts. Please make our usual agreement better. It’s between two companies in the food industry. Make sure you cover everything about who owns ideas. Look closely at sections A, B, and C, where we got suggestions to make it clearer.”
Why it works: This lets AI improve the papers you often use. It can save time when you’re writing and checking contracts.
- Understanding Court Cases
Prompt: “Imagine a made-up case, ‘Smith vs. Beta Corp.’ Smith says Beta Corp. copied their software. Give me the important parts of what happened, what both sides say, and what the pretend court decided. Also, find real cases like this.”
Why it works: This helps AI learn what’s important about cases. It’s good when you’re starting to look at a case and want to know if there’s anything similar before.
- Making Sense of Laws
Prompt:”You’re a helper for legal research. Explain how GDPR (European privacy law) and the HIPA (healthcare privacy law) are different. Say what businesses must do for each.”
Why it works: This helps you learn the rules in different places. It’s great when you want to know what’s legal in different parts of the world.
- Finding Key Facts from Cases
Prompt: “Explain recent court decisions about privacy rights when using digital things like phones. Make it short. We want to tell clients about it.”
Why it works: This makes long cases shorter, so you know what they say. It’s useful when you need to tell others what’s new in the law.
- Writing about Law Stuff
Prompt: “Write a blog about what to do after a bike crash. We tell people to do A, B, and C. Make it friendly and helpful. Tell them to call us if they need help.”
Why it works:AI can help write articles that are interesting and helpful. It’s great for writing things for your website or social media.
- Talking to New Clients
Prompt: “You’re an AI for our law firm. Make a plan for the first call with someone who thinks they lost their job unfairly. Get the important facts, but don’t ask secret things. Also, tell them we know a lot about employment law.”
Why it works: This helps AI know what to say when someone new calls. It’s good for making sure the first talk with a client goes well.
Using AI to Get Better at Law: Getting Ready for Real-Life Situations
- Figuring Out the Other Side’s Moves
Prompt: “You’re an experienced lawyer who defends people accused of doing something illegal in the stock market. Now, pretend you’re the other side—the ones who say your client did something wrong. What arguments and plans might they use?”
Why This Helps: This lets lawyers see things from both sides. It’s like getting ready for a game by knowing what the other team might do. It’s super helpful when you’re getting ready to defend someone in court.
- Getting Better at Talking to Clients
Prompt: “Imagine you’re someone who needs a lawyer. You have a really complicated problem with laws from different countries about kids. Pretend you’re upset and confused about what to do. ”
Why This Helps: Lawyers learn how to help clients who are upset or don’t know what to do. It’s like practicing for a game by pretending it’s real. This is great for learning how to talk to people when they’re having a hard time.
- Getting Ready to Ask Tough Questions
Prompt: “Imagine you’re in a made-up situation. You’re someone who doesn’t want to say things that could get you in trouble in court. Answer questions in a way that’s tricky or argumentative. This helps lawyers learn how to deal with people who don’t want to help.”
Why This Helps: Lawyers need to be good at asking questions to get important information. This helps them learn how to get answers from people who are being difficult. It’s like practicing for a game where you need to get the ball from the other team.
- Getting Better at Talking it Out
Prompt: “Pretend you’re a person who helps solve a big problem between two people getting a divorce. They can’t agree on things like money and their kids. Give ideas on how they can work things out.”
Why This Helps: This makes lawyers better at finding solutions to problems. It’s like practicing a game plan for getting everyone to agree. This is perfect for getting ready to help people in tough situations.
But remember, even though AI can help practice, real lawyers need to check everything it comes up with before using it for real cases. With the right pretend situations, you can use AI to make your law work even better.
- Making Questions for Investigations
Prompt: “Imagine you’re a lawyer looking into a big car crash with lots of cars. Make a list of questions to find out what really happened and who might be responsible.”
Why This Helps: This helps lawyers learn how to ask the right questions. It’s like practicing for a game where you need to know everything about what happened. This is great for making sure you know everything in cases with accidents.
Embracing AI in law isn’t just a choice, it’s really important now. AI like ChatGPT can make legal work better by helping with making legal papers, checking cases, looking at laws, and talking to new clients. AI can also act out different situations to help lawyers plan better. AI is like a smart helper that can do things quickly and correctly.
But AI doesn’t replace humans in law. It’s here to make things even better. AI can do the boring and long tasks, so lawyers can spend more time helping their clients and making good plans. This way, lawyers can focus on what’s really important and use their special skills where they’re needed the most.