Irish Legal News: AI chatbots ‘too limited’ to replace real lawyers

Lawyers are unlikely to be replaced with AI-powered chatbots any time soon, a Northern Ireland law firm has said after reviewing the reliability of legal advice produced by ChatGPT.

SG Murphy Solicitors put ChatGPT, probably the best-known AI chatbot, to the test by asking it a number of standard legal questions and then scrutinising its responses.

The firm said almost one in 10 responses were wrong, while 73 per cent of responses were below the standard you would expect from a real lawyer.

Shane McCann, the firm’s managing director, said: “One of my major concerns with using AI chat boxes for legal queries currently is how limited they are in functionality. ChatGPT’s very design restricts itself from finding important background research on the client and their interests.

“Asking questions is a big part of what a lawyer does in order to build a rapport and find out information unique to the client. By understanding the needs and desires of an individual, a lawyer can then provide a more trusting, useful, and tailored response.

“What’s more, incorrect legal advice can carry serious implications for clients, including significant delays and loss, as well as feelings of frustration and distress.”

Mr McCann added: “Recently, AI and its future in the legal field has gained a lot of buzz and publicity. Following our research, we do not see AI chatbots significantly rivalling the legal industry right now due to its design limitations.

“However, I do predict that, as AI’s capabilities become greater, we will start to see its utility increase in the legal sector. Lawyers who welcome this advent could utilise AI tools to perform simple routine tasks so that they, themselves, can prioritise higher-paying and more complex work.

“Ultimately, if AI is embraced, the future could hold greater efficacy and profitability for the legal industry.”