Lawyers Weekly Australia Reports Two Thirds of Australian Lawyers are Using ChatGPT for Legal Work

Lawyers making use of GenAI at work

A recent poll conducted by LawCPD from its members found that the most popular generative AI tool among lawyers was ChatGPT, with 66 per cent of lawyers reporting that they had used this for professional purposes. Around a third of lawyers had tried Copilot, while 10 per cent or less had tried other tools like DALL-E.

Lawyers reported using ChatGPT to assist with a range of legal tasks, including file notes (23 per cent), legal research (19 per cent), document review (16 per cent) and legal writing (16 per cent). However, a significant percentage of lawyers reported choosing not to use ChatGPT to assist with legal tasks and instead using it for other professional tasks.

Law firms slow to regulate

Given these results, it is surprising to learn that law firms have been slow to implement measures to ensure lawyers are using AI safely. LawCPD found that only 20 per cent of law firms had implemented policies or directives around the use of AI. This is a clear area for firms to address in the future, to ensure that all staff understand how to leverage these tools appropriately and safely in their practice.

There are significant benefits and efficiencies available to lawyers who use generative AI tools consistently with their professional obligations, especially as this technology is rapidly becoming a key component of major software products like Microsoft Office Suite, LexisNexis and Westlaw.

These products tend to be far more reliable and secure than publicly available AI tools. They also represent a shift towards a world where lawyers will be required to learn to use generative AI to do their daily work.

Valid concerns – where to from here?

We have witnessed concerning cases involving lawyers who inadvertently cited fake cases generated by ChatGPT or Google Bard. Client confidentiality is another key concern, as there is no guarantee that publicly available tools will keep information confidential. In this context it’s understandable that some lawyers are hesitant to use generative AI tools to assist in their legal practice.

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