Forget The Future. Attorneys Are Using Generative AI Now

This article has been saved to your Favorites!
Amid the speculation about how generative artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT will one day transform the legal profession, some attorneys are already regularly using this new technology in their practices.

Generative AI is software that processes data to create new information, including text and images.

It caught fire when research company OpenAI released ChatGPT on Nov. 30. The generative AI tool's ability to quickly write almost anything made it an internet sensation and got some working professionals thinking about incorporating this technology into business practices.

Nearly 30% of professionals surveyed by the social network Fishbowl in January are now using ChatGPT on work-related tasks, Fishbowl said. And a pair of researchers at Chicago-Kent College of Law and Michigan State University College of Law reported in December that ChatGPT earned a passing grade in the multiple-choice section of a practice bar exam.

While ChatGPT still has its limitations, its uses in the legal sector are becoming more clear.

Wendy Rubas, general counsel and corporate secretary for health care company VillageMD, told Law360 Pulse that the company's legal department envisions using generative AI to quickly pull structured data out of existing information and to create content such as the first draft of a contract.

"To have a first draft is really valuable," Rubas said. "That is a huge benefit."

Today's document creation tools still require some manual work to create contracts, she said, and creating the first draft with a generative AI tool would save time.

The legal department at VillageMD is already experimenting with ChatGPT by asking it legal questions. Rubas said she is impressed with the content ChatGPT generates.

Some lawyers are already getting a head start with the technology. Mitch Jackson, co-founder of personal injury firm Jackson & Wilson, told Law360 Pulse that he uses ChatGPT to brainstorm ideas for his opening statements in trials and for jury selection matters.

Since December, Jackson has asked ChatGPT for ideas about how to address different issues that might emerge during an upcoming trial involving monetary damages. Jackson didn't want to divulge the case and the specific issues related to it.

In this case, Jackson is trying to learn how jury members in a particular city might perceive issues related to damages. For example, Jackson said he asked ChatGPT about the 10 most common concerns a jury might have with awarding monetary damages or holding a manufacturer responsible for harm caused by a defective product.

Jackson described it as "just really diving deep on different approaches and ideas, trying to plant seeds in my own mind."

"It blew me away at the responses that I was getting at, the suggestions it was giving me," he said.

Jackson added that he was amazed that the platform could educate him as to how different jury members might be thinking. This includes the economic circumstances, life experiences and subconscious issues affecting jurors who are awarding monetary damages or holding a corporation responsible.

It bears on "what's going through their minds so that I can anticipate some of the challenges that might be brought up back during jury deliberation once the case is with the jury," Jackson said.

These brainstorming sessions with ChatGPT have become a must in Jackson's creative process for crafting opening statements for trial.

Jackson said he doesn't read the exact responses from ChatGPT verbatim during the trial but uses them for pondering ideas and getting a feel for different talking points.

Jackson also has turned to the content generator Lately to create online posts to help market his law firm.

What's Next

Technology companies that cater to the legal profession are already jumping on the generative AI bandwagon.

Microsoft Corp. made a multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI in January, a week after the tech giant announced that OpenAI's large language models were available through its Azure service., a legal tech startup built on software similar to ChatGPT, raised $5 million from the OpenAI Startup fund in November.

Contract lifecycle management platform Lexion rolled out a contract assist plugin for Microsoft Word based on GPT in December.

Contract intelligence platform Evisort Inc. also released a generative AI tool for contracts in December. The company did not disclose metrics on customers or attorney usage but said that its own attorneys are using the technology.

"I have used Evisort's generative AI to automatically generate redlines and suggest edits while I, the attorney, supervise the process," Colby Mangonon, associate general counsel at Evisort, told Law360 Pulse. "It cuts down on review time substantially, which means I can get more done in a day."

Lexata, a platform that focuses on capital markets research, uses semantic search and generative AI to answer questions about U.S. and Canadian securities regulation.

"Lexata's mission is to make it faster, easier and less expensive for everyone in the capital markets ecosystem to find and understand highly technical rules," Leslie McCallum, Lexata's founder and CEO, told Law360 Pulse.

Lexata is aiming its technology at public companies, and specifically at in-house lawyers who are responsible for compliance and disclosure. The company does not disclose information about its customers.

"In a recent LinkedIn post, I noted that law is a high-stakes use case, so GPT alone often won't be workable without a custom natural language processing pipeline built around it," McCallum said. "The market will be searching for use cases and how to build them. It will be very exciting to see what people build, and the market's adoption of the applications, over the next year or two."

Generative AI is still far from perfect. Lawsuits are already challenging certain platforms, and there are a host of ethical concerns about the technology. Tools such as ChatGPT can generate false information, and the data that it uses is limited to events through 2021.

Rubas said she wasn't sure if the current iteration of ChatGPT could do the type of work that the department would need. She also has some concerns about security and privacy of data.

However, she said the next generation of generative AI tools will be able to serve the needs of the legal department. She expects that to emerge by the end of the year.

Jackson said he doesn't see the use of generative AI in the legal profession diminishing. In fact, he expects the tool to eventually incorporate real-time searches online.

--Editing by Brian Baresch.

For a reprint of this article, please contact



Law360 Law360 UK Law360 Tax Authority Law360 Employment Authority Law360 Insurance Authority Law360 Real Estate Authority Law360 Healthcare Authority Law360 Bankruptcy Authority


Social Impact Leaders Prestige Leaders Pulse Leaderboard Women in Law Report Law360 400 Diversity Snapshot Rising Stars Summer Associates

National Sections

Modern Lawyer Courts Daily Litigation In-House Mid-Law Legal Tech Small Law Insights

Regional Sections

California Pulse Connecticut Pulse DC Pulse Delaware Pulse Florida Pulse Georgia Pulse New Jersey Pulse New York Pulse Pennsylvania Pulse Texas Pulse

Site Menu

Subscribe Advanced Search About Contact