ChatGPT: do the benefits outweigh the potential pitfalls?

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot system developed by OpenAI which uses large databases of language to generate human conversational text based on the context of the conversation. “GPT” means Generative Pre-training Transformer architecture, a neural network designed for natural language processing tasks. It uses its pre-trained massive databases from the internet to intake inputs and almost instantly prompts and generates the appropriate response in a natural, human, and conversational text structure. You can ask anything on ChatGPT; in doing this, you help the company to improve the software.

ChatGPT, an opportunity or a challenge?

Since its release last November, ChatGPT has been the fastest-growing online application in history, reaching 100 million monthly active users. However, it also has boosted concerns about AI technology. On the one hand, schools and colleges are restricting students’ access to ChatGPT on campus, and on the other hand, they are adopting anti-cheating technology. The banking sector, which deals with highly confidential data and is closely monitored by regulators, tends to restrict staff using ChatGPT[1]. Interestingly, some law firms embrace the software by encouraging their employees to evaluate the benefits of ChatGPT or incorporate ChatGPT into their daily work.

Benefits of using ChatGPT

“The model was trained using text databases from the internet. This included a whopping 570GB of data obtained from books, webtexts, Wikipedia, articles and other pieces of writing on the internet. To be even more exact, 300 billion words were fed into the system.” [2]

The resourceful and powerful ChatGPT does help law firms optimize their operations and services and promote legal professionals’ efficiency. There is a range of work ChatGPT can help improve a law firm’s operations, including legal research, document drafting, and predictive analysis.

Legal Research: ChatGPT can analyze vast volumes of legal documents, case law, statutes, and legal opinions to identify relevant information, inconsistencies, and potential issues and provide summaries of applicable case law almost immediately.

Case Analysis: ChatGPT can help lawyers and law firms to analyze legal precedents and then quickly identify potential conflicts, gaps in the law, and legal trends that could impact a case.

Predictive analytics: ChatGPT uses a language model to predict the outcome of future cases by analyzing data on past issues and identifying patterns and trends.

Legal Drafting: Within its massive databases, ChatGPT has a wealth of legal documents which can be used as templates to assist legal professionals in drafting legal documents, such as contracts, legal briefs, and pleadings.

Risks of using ChatGPT

Even though OpenAI is constantly working hard to train ChatGPT, they admit the software still has limitations[3].

Since ChatGPT is trained on a large amount of data, it may only sometimes be able to distinguish between credible and inaccurate information from a legal perspective. The possibility of an incorrect answer is a challenge to the legal community, which is sought and established through accuracy with reams of case law, legislation, and other legal authorities.

There is a question about authorship and intellectual property in relation to answers provided by ChatGPT, which may include copyrighted material. If any lawyer uses the generated text replies, s/he might infringe the copyrights.

Another danger of ChatGPT is the potential for confidentiality breaches. Law firms and lawyers have a duty to protect their clients’ confidential information and ensure that ChatGPT is used in a way that does not compromise this duty. For example, if you input sensitive and highly confidential client information into ChatGPT for queries, it may breach data privacy laws and expose you to claims for damages, penalties and harm the company’s reputation.

[1] Julia Horowitz, “JPMorgan restricts employee use of ChatGPT”, CNN, 22 February 2023, (accessed 25 Feb 2023)

[2] Alex Hughes, ‘ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about OpenAI’s GPT-3 tool” ’, Science Focus, 2 February 2023, (accessed 26 Feb 2023)


Published by Hughes Castell

Asia's Premier Firm for Global Legal, Compliance, Risk and Regulatory Executive Search

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