These programs are being used to address legal topics and to mimic legal correspondence as well. There are examples available of reasonably accurate memoranda on the Web explaining certain laws and providing legal advice, in a general manner, which appear to have been prepared by lawyers. The products of such programs have even begun appearing in courtrooms.
A recent news story described what happened when an experienced lawyer presented a brief to a court, filled with arguments and citations to case law. The lawyer who filed it didn't bother to check the citations to the cases appearing in the brief, but opposing counsel did and found that the cases referred to were fabricated. The AI program made up cases, apparently taking names which it found in the vast reaches of the Web which seemed related to the subject matter of the case. The citations seemed entirely appropriate. The lawyer apparently just assumed the program knew the law.
The lawyer was sanctioned by the court. What befell the client wasn't mentioned, but it may be assumed that using the AI wasn’t of any benefit.
The lessons to be learned apply to the lawyer trying to cut corners and their clients and those who rely on what is available on the Internet regarding laws. It may seem that a particular memo or other communication is well-written by a knowledgeable person, but that may not be the case. The existence of AI requires that legal opinions of this kind be reviewed by a real lawyer to establish whether they’re accurate. If they’re not reviewed, the consequences can be severe.
If you have questions or would like help with a legal matter, please feel free to contact the West & Dunn’s legal professionals by phone at 608-535-6420 or online through our Contact Us page.