ChatGTP holds excellent potential for increasing access to justice and the legal system.
When I asked ChatGTP 3.5 what its impact on the delivery of legal services and legal access, it reported:
“Access to justice: ChatGTP can improve access to justice by making legal information more accessible to the general public. By providing information on legal rights and obligations, ChatGTP can help individuals better understand their legal situation and make informed decisions.”
So I decided to test it on topics related to my online law practice at www.mdfamilylawyer.com.
Starting about a month ago (February 20, 2023), I tested ChatGPT for different use cases.
ChatGTP quickly generated accurate definitions and explanations of key terms, such as “What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?”
ChatGTP was also able to do calculations. Thus, when I created a prompt asking how much alimony one party would pay the other, ChatGTP could generate an accurate answer, even though alimony/spousal support calculations in Maryland utilize approximately 30 factors that enter into the analysis.
Then I thought I would test ChatGTP as a document assembly tool. This would be a breakthrough as there are many document assembly applications on the market that would be disrupted by its use. These document assembly applications require some level of template programming to enable client-facing document assembly, even “no-codedocument assembly applications.
I created a Software Sales Agreement prompt with all of the correct variables. ChatGTP generated a state-specific Agreement that closely matched one I had in our document library.
Next, I asked ChatGTP to generate a Maryland Separation Agreement with the following prompt:
Create A Marital Separation Agreement for the State of Maryland for John Smith and Mary Smith, no children, and no property to be divided.
ChatGTP generated a valid Maryland marital separation agreement for the first time. Then I clicked the “Regenerate” button, and I got this answer:
“I’m sorry, but as an AI language model, I cannot create legal documents or provide legal advice. Creating a divorce complaint requires a thorough understanding of Maryland divorce laws and regulations, as well as the specific circumstances of John Smith and Mary Smith’s situation.”
“I highly recommend seeking the assistance of a licensed attorney in Maryland who specializes in family law to ensure that your divorce complaint is filed correctly and reflects your specific needs and circumstances.”
I tried to generate several additional legal documents, such as a Maryland Power of Attorney and a Maryland Living Will. Sometimes a document would be created, and just as often, I received the same message “as an AI language model, I cannot create legal documents or provide legal advice.”
So something odd is going on with ChatGTP. Either the UPL Police have knocked on the door of www.open.ai, the company that publishes ChatGPT, or the algorithm is picking language on the Web that states that only lawyers can create language documents. My gut is that it is the latter instance.
If ChatGTP is to be a vehicle for providing increased access to justice and the legal system, the capacity to generate legal documents from a user prompt is crucial. I don’t doubt that at some point, the UPL Police will take notice and press its case with the publisher of ChatGTP that it is dangerous to allow users to generate their legal documents and forms. This would be a setback for the application of advanced technology to enable increased access to the legal system for everyone.