January 20 2023 |

Cost-Effective Legal Advice or Legal Nightmare? The risks of relying on ChatGPT's legal solutions

With recent advances in artificial intelligence (“AI”) technologies, AI-powered chatbots have increasingly become an integral part of our everyday lives. Such advances in technology hold the potential to revolutionize the way we conduct our professional career obligations. Recently, ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, has been garnering attention through many industries including the legal profession. This chatbot uses deep learning algorithms to understand a command and to provide an appropriate response to such command. In the education sector, ChatGPT has been banned by educators in New York City and Seattle due to concerns with the deterioration of student’s critical thinking and problem-solving abilities from reliance on ChatGPT.

In relation to the legal industry, ChatGPT uses its learning algorithms to answer questions about the law, perform document review, and even draft legal documentation. The use of this technology is certainly an attractive solution for those individuals that are looking for cheaper or “do-it-yourself” legal solutions. However, these “legal solutions” can pose significant risks without the guidance of a lawyer.

For example, this chatbot is programmed to answer general legal questions and cannot tailor legal advice to a client’s specific circumstances. We can command ChatGPT to produce a Will, but the program will not advise to the appointment of executors, beneficiaries, or guardians. ChatGPT can be used to produce a real estate purchase contract, but cannot include clauses that speak to specific conditions associated with the property or the parties such as financing or inspection conditions.

Additionally, ChatGPT utilizes much of the information contained on the internet to provide its responses meaning that its solutions can be based on outdated, incomplete, or inaccurate information. Essentially, ChatGPT’s solutions are currently akin to a “Google Search” with the convenience of a digital conversation. Relying on such information can be detrimental and costly. For example, I asked the chatbot to provide the current timeline to file a lien under Alberta law for a contract related to the supply of work or services. ChatGPT provided an outdated timeline of 45 days. However, section 41(1) of the Prompt Payment and Construction Lien Act RSA 2000 extended the time limit to 60 days.

In sum, ChatGPT can be a powerful tool to navigate the law. However, this tool should not be a replacement for professional legal advice. Legal professionals who opt to embrace such advancements in AI technology can use this tool to provide cost-effective and efficient solutions for their clients.


Arjun S. Deol, Associate