Over half of lawyers say ChatGPT should be used for legal work

New report shines spotlight on profession’s attitudes towards AI

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The vast majority of lawyers recognise AI’s ability to undertake legal work, new research has found, but many feel the profession is better off keeping them separate.

A recent survey undertaken by Thomson Reuters found that a whopping 82% of lawyers agreed that ChatGPT and other generative AI tools could be applied to their day-to-day legal work. Just 7% felt it could not be applied and 10% said they were unsure.

A smaller majority of lawyers (51%) believe AI should be applied to legal work while nearly a quarter (24%) said it should not. Twenty-five percent were unsure.

The survey, which questioned 440 lawyers at large and mid-size law firms in the UK, US and Canada, forms part of a new report which takes a “deep look at the evolving attitudes towards generative AI and ChatGPT within law firms”.

It found that while awareness of ChatGPT and generative AI was high, application among law firms remained low, with just 3% of respondents using it right now. However, over a third (34%) said their firm was still considering whether to use it or not.

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In response to the potential risks from using AI for legal work, 15% of respondents reported that their firms had warned them against its “unauthorised” use, while 6% said their firm had banned its usage outright. Key concerns include the technology’s “accuracy and security”, most specially around client confidentially, according to the report.

There’s been much discussion recently around AI and what impact it will have on the legal profession.

The Master of the Rolls recently warned that ChatGPT and its successor GPT-4 will transform the work of lawyers and judges, and “we will all have to get with the programme”.

Elsewhere, Paul Philip, the top boss at the Solicitors Regulation Authority, questioned the ChatBot on how advancements in technology will likely impact the Solicitors Qualifying Exam. The bot’s answer? Well, it depends. Spoken like a true lawyer.


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