Rupert Macey-Dare (St Cross College – University of Oxford; Middle Temple; Minerva Chambers) has posted “How ChatGPT and Generative AI Systems will Revolutionize Legal Services and the Legal Profession” on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In this paper, ChatGPT, is asked to provide c.150+ paragraphs of detailed prediction and insight into the following overlapping questions, concerning the potential impact of ChatGPT and successor generative AI systems on the evolving practice of law and the legal professions as we know them:
• Which are the individual legal business areas where ChatGPT could make a significant/ transformative impact and reduce costs and increase efficiencies?
• Where can ChatGPT use its special NLP abilities to assist in legal analysis and advice?
• Which are the specific areas where generative AI systems like ChatGPT can revolutionize and improve the legal profession?
• How can systems like ChatGPT help ordinary people with legal questions and legal problems?
• What is the likely timeframe for ChatGPT and other generative AI systems to transform legal services and the legal profession?
• What are the potential implications for new and intending law students?
• How will ChatGPT and similar systems impact professional lawyers in future?
Some of ChatGPT’s key insights and predictions (see full paper attached for detailed responses and analysis) are as follows:
ChatGPT identifies the following key individual legal business areas where it could make a significant/ transformative impact and reduce costs and increase efficiencies: Alternative dispute resolution, Automated billing, Case analysis, Case management, Compliance monitoring, Contract management, Contract review, Document automation, Document review, Discovery and E-discovery, Drafting legal documents, Due diligence, Expertise matching, Intellectual Property and IP management, Legal advice, Legal analytics, Legal chatbots, Legal drafting, Legal document review, Legal education, Legal marketing, Legal research, Litigation support, Natural language processing (NLP), Patent analysis, Predictive analytics, Regulatory compliance, Research, Risk assessment, Training and education, Translation and Virtual assistants.
ChatGPT flags up its special NLP abilities to assist in legal analysis and advice, particularly in the following key areas: Contract analysis, Document classification, Document summarization, Due diligence, Legal chatbots, Legal document review, Legal document summarization, Legal drafting, Legal language translation, Legal research, Named entity recognition, Predictive analytics, Regulatory compliance, Sentiment analysis and Topic modelling.
On the question of which are the specific areas where generative AI systems like ChatGPT can revolutionize and improve the legal profession, ChatGPT identifies: Accessibility, Accuracy, Collaboration, Cost reduction, Customization, Decision-making, Efficiency, Error-reduction, New business and innovation, Job displacement potential, Legal research, Risk management and Scalability.
On the question of how can systems like ChatGPT help ordinary people with legal questions and legal problems, ChatGPT identifies the following areas: 24/7 availability, Automated legal services, Consistency of advice, Contract review, Cost-effectiveness, Court filings, Customization, Document preparation, Education, Empowerment, Faster response times, Language translation, Legal advice, Legal chatbots, Legal education, Legal research, Mediation and dispute resolution, Privacy, Scalability and Simplified language.
On the question of the likely timeframe for ChatGPT and other generative AI systems to transform legal services and the legal profession, Chat GPT comments that “It is difficult to predict with certainty, as it will depend on a variety of factors such as technological advancements, regulatory changes, and market demand. [However] There are several reasons to believe that the transformation of legal services through generative AI systems like ChatGPT will happen relatively quickly…the transformation of legal services through generative AI systems is likely to happen relatively quickly, potentially within the next 5-10 years.”
On the potential implications for new and intending law students, ChatGPT comments that: “It is essential for students contemplating studying law to be aware of the ability of ChatGPT and generative AI systems to perform legal jobs instead of humans in the future. These technologies are already transforming the legal industry, and their impact is likely to continue to grow in the years to come. Understanding how these systems work and how they can be used in legal practice will be crucial for anyone seeking a career in law, and may also provide a competitive advantage in the job market. By understanding the potential impact of these technologies on the legal industry, students can better prepare themselves for the changing nature of legal work and take advantage of the new opportunities that are emerging as a result of these developments.”
On the all-important question for lawyers of how ChatGPT and similar systems will impact professional lawyers in future, ChatGPT comments that: “Generative AI systems like ChatGPT have the potential to significantly impact the demand and payment for professional lawyers in the future. As these systems become more advanced and capable of performing a wider range of legal tasks, it is likely that they will begin to replace some of the work that is currently performed by human lawyers.”
“One area where this is already happening is in document review. AI systems can review and analyze large volumes of documents much more quickly and accurately than human lawyers, which can save significant time and cost for law firms and their clients. As these systems become more sophisticated, they may also be able to perform other tasks such as legal research and analysis, drafting legal documents, and even providing legal advice.”
“The impact of generative AI systems on the demand for lawyers will depend on the specific tasks and areas of law that they are able to perform. It is likely that some areas of law will be more heavily impacted than others. For example, areas such as contract law and intellectual property may be more susceptible to automation, while litigation and dispute resolution may be less so.”
“In terms of payment for professional lawyers, the impact of generative AI systems is also likely to vary depending on the specific tasks and areas of law. In some cases, these systems may allow lawyers to perform their work more quickly and efficiently, which could potentially lead to higher billable hours and increased income. However, if these systems are able to replace some of the work that is currently performed by human lawyers, it could also lead to a reduction in demand for these services and a decrease in fees.”
“One potential impact of systems like ChatGPT on the legal industry is a reduction in the demand for certain types of legal work that can be automated or performed more efficiently by AI systems. For example, tasks like document review, contract drafting, and legal research may be performed more accurately and quickly by AI systems than by humans, leading to a decrease in the number of lawyers needed to perform these tasks.”
“It is also possible that the development of AI systems like ChatGPT will lead to changes in the way that legal services are priced and delivered. As these technologies become more common, it is likely that clients will begin to expect lower costs and faster turnaround times for certain types of legal work. This could lead to increased competition among legal service providers, which in turn could put pressure on lawyers to lower their rates or find ways to deliver legal services more efficiently….it is clear that these technologies have the potential to significantly change the legal industry, and that lawyers will need to adapt in order to remain competitive and relevant in a rapidly changing market. This may involve developing new skills and knowledge related to working alongside AI systems, or focusing on areas of law that are less susceptible to automation.”
Interestingly, although ChatGPT does discuss practical contract management, IP and evidence, it does not seem to predict inroads being made into academic legal analysis, statutory construction, complex case analysis or the development of new legal thinking and principles, so not into the theoretical domain of law professors and senior lawyers and judges, (although there are additional reasons why there are likely to be knock-on reductions in demand for these specialist lawyers too).
But for the vast majority of procedural (routinely turning-the-handle type) practitioner law and practice, ChatGPT seems to be predicting a seismic sectoral shock, a reduction in human-centric legal work, an increase in legal self-help for clients and the public, and a technological transformation in and fundamental repricing and manpower shock for the legal sector within a timeframe of 5-10 years.
N.B. This is only one set of predictions, which could prove right or wrong, indeed from an unconscious chatbot machine ChatGPT. However it has the credibility of being made based on both a huge body of knowledge data, and on the consistent rules programmed into ChatGPT itself, and by apparently coherently reasoned responses. Time will soon tell of course…