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Large Language Model AI rapidly moving into the legal space

Technology for Lawyers

Published: March 17, 2023

Several weeks ago, we ran a feature on how ChatGPT is not suitable for the legal profession. Yet.
Even though it appears clear, through testing, that the current chat AIs like ChatGPT are not suitable for much in the legal sphere, companies are rushing to create legal applications for large language model (LLM) AIs based on legal documents.
The problem with the run-of-the-mill AI chat bots is that their LLM’s could not get behind the paywalls where most cases and commentaries, like Westlaw or LexisNexis, are kept.
But now one company is collaborating with Open AI to get their chatbot behind a legal paywall to conduct actual legal research.
Casetext, the legal research platform targeted to small and solo practices, just announced the first rollout of a new product called CoCounsel which, according to a release, is “an AI legal assistant built using advanced generative AI, which is able to help lawyers do all kinds of things including answering legal research questions, summarizing documents, generating first drafts of letters, memos, and legal documents, reviewing and analyzing contracts, extracting data in bulk from contracts, and more.”
Casetext is bringing their proprietary legal databases and technology to the table. OpenAI is bringing--- ChatGPT. The possibilities might be endless. Legal databases should not have anywhere near the prejudices baked into most LLM models, since the only information available will be laws, court cases, and the rest of the world of legal publishing.
Now, Casetext is probably not as powerful as Westlaw or LexisNexis—for one thing, Casetext have been reviewed as weak on unreported cases. But do you think the big platforms will be next? Bet on it.
If you’re in New York City on March 25, you can attend the first public demonstration of CoCounsel.
Another interesting twist in this brand-new journey is the potential disappearance of SEO and, even further out, of the nascent Metaverse.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the ability to finesse Google’s search algorithm, or the search algorithms of any search engine, without actually knowing what that algo is. Entire industries, careers, niche businesses and, especially, legal websites, have been built around an SEO based on finding and elevating links to websites.
Now, new chat-based search capabilities have moved the needle of SEO very quickly to obsolescence and, with it, an entire industry. If creating links is at the heart of Google’s SEO, a very large chunk of that will soon disappear. And if Google’s SEO is at the heart of your firm’s online presence—well, who knows what will happen? Or when. But be ready to quickly pivot to whatever is coming next.
And even further out—just when (I’m sure somebody) was planning the legal Metaverse, where court hearings and client meetings are done through virtual realty headsets, it looks like Mark Zuckerberg is pulling the plug on VR and starting to pivot toward the LLM world.
As reported by TheStreet in an article entitled “Mark Zuckerberg Quietly Buries the Metaverse,” Zuckerberg announced on February 27 that “[W]e're starting by pulling together a lot of the teams working on generative AI across the company into one group focused on building delightful experiences around this technology. ...
"In the short term, we'll focus on building creative and expressive tools," he wrote. "Over the longer term, we'll focus on developing AI personas that can help people in a variety of ways."
And in related news, employees were just told that Meta would not be making a follow-up to its VR headset. So that about seals it.
And, of course, Elon Musk had to weigh in as well, calling AI “dangerous technology” that needs to be regulated to ensure that is “operating within the public interest.” Musk, along with a couple of other PayPal veterans including Peter Thiel, were the original backers of Open AI, the developer of ChatGPT. So what goes around comes around.
And-- the banking industry is about to get completely disrupted as well, with half of the financial institutes in a recent survey looking at AI, but, of course, few of them looking to put guardrails on the technology. Hackers are licking their chops, believe me. If you represent banks, now would be a good time to either stop doing that or to jump in and make sure they are implementing any AI with acceptable limitations on its power.