The march of Artificial Intelligence appears to be inevitable and speculation is rife as to whether AI language models like ChatGPT will replace lawyers. While AI models have the potential to assist lawyers and enhance efficiency in legal research and fact discovery, it is unlikely that they will be able to replace lawyers entirely:
- Dispute resolution involves a high degree of interpersonal communication and negotiation, which requires emotional intelligence and social skills that AI models do not possess. Lawyers must be able to communicate effectively with clients, judges, and opposing counsel, and to negotiate complex legal settlements that take into account the needs and interests of all parties involved.
- Dispute resolution requires more than an understanding of legal concepts and principles; the key skill is analysis and application of legal principles to specific cases and situations. AI models can provide suggestions and recommendations based on patterns in data, but they do not have the ability to identify or understand legal nuances and subtleties, to make intuitive judgments, or to draw on their own experience and expertise to craft persuasive legal arguments.
- Caution is warranted even in the realm of legal research because, at least at this time, AI model’s responses are not always reliable. According to OpenAI, ChatGPT “sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers . . . because there’s currently no source of truth.” Indeed, the quality of data on which AI models are trained is just as important as the quantity of data on which it is trained. If the data is incomplete or biased in some way, ChatGPT may provide incomplete or biased results.
That said, the potential for AI to process vast amounts of data and generate intelligible insights promises to enhance the efficiency of human lawyers, allowing firms that adopt these innovations to deliver better, cost-effective outcomes to its clients.