In the land of the blind, the one-eyed lawyer will not be king for much longer. In my view, ChatGPT is exposing lazy people compared to smart, diligent ones, and lawyers are no exception to the rule – everyone is being held to account by their ability to use LLMs properly and professionally.
And this goes to anyone in knowledge professions, such as technology, marketing, research, science, consulting, accounting, etc. You are only as smart at what you know and how intelligently you interact with the Internet to enhance your knowledge. But let’s focus on this ChatGPT disruption of lawyers because who doesn’t love to pick on lawyers?
I’ve been riveted to the cases of lawyers and ChatGPT recently, where lazy lawyers are getting smashed in the media using bad ChatGPT information. Let’s get to the point, with the current version of ChatGPT, a lot of bad information is recycled, and some people are not smart enough, or too lazy, to check it properly. It’s the same with people researching for exams or corporate presentations – if you know what you’re looking for, ChatGPT can save you a bunch of time and make you far more productive – and even appear more knowledgeable.
The technological shift from ChatGPT-3.5 to ChatGPT-4 will have a seismic impact on the legal profession
Moreover, the impending upgrade from the current version of ChatGPT-3.5 to ChatGPT-4 is seeing a ten-fold increase in information synthesis power, a much greater ability to cite facts correctly, find nuances and mistakes in information and keep refining its capabilities. In fact, one team of GPT-4 experts has claimed that while ChatGPT-3.5 came in the bottom 10% of the Uniform Bar Exam, GPT-4 passed with flying colors approaching the 90th percentile. And this is from a team of legal experts at Stanford Law School.
Lawyers: the lazy versus the skilled will be exposed
In the case of these current legal blunders, lazy lawyers are being exposed because they are – let’s face it – too apathetic to keep current in their jobs and always looking for shortcuts to bill their clients insane amounts of money.
“Strategy” is needed in cases where the law is open to interpretation and the outcome is not cut and dried. Many lawyers can be immensely valuable – and I have been in awe of one lawyer who showed more skill, emotional intelligence, and insight than I have probably witnessed in my entire career. There are also many others who are clearly diligent and smart, who I would use again.
However, I have also worked with many (and observed many) who are simply a huge waste of money. Having lived through many contractual negotiations, there is rarely any “strategy” from some lawyers. They are highly-paid billable administrators following processes and delegating most of the work to juniors to rack up the billings.
It’s these lawyers who should be very scared of GPT4, especially in areas like outsourcing where most of these contracts are cut and dried, and there is very little room for “innovation” for anything beyond keeping on the green lights.
The Bottom-line: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed lawyer will not be king for much longer
When you’re in a situation where lawyers and procurement are sparring over the useless minutiae of standard contracts, you are simply wasting hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars. Seriously, what is the point of paying $1m+ to draw up a valueless, standard outsourcing contract when you can find a smart lawyer who can do it for a fraction of the price using sophisticated LLMs?
The smart clients are those who know how to manage lawyers, hold them to set budgets, and know where they are useful beyond being glorified – and very expensive – process followers. And those lawyers who know how to use ChatGPT to be more productive – and continually increase their knowledge – will quickly rise to the forefront.
For example, would you go to a dentist who hasn’t read a dental journal in 20 years or uses the latest software and equipment? Or course you wouldn’t! If my lawyer was super in-tune with their practice area, I would want them to be 20%+ smarter and more productive because they know how to use ChatGPT properly. I want more for less, and GPT-4 will deliver that to those who learn how to use it effectively.