Here's Why Lawyers Are Paying Attention to ChatGPT
AI Will Continue to Be a Talking Point Throughout the Year
Ready to get disrupted? Me neither, but let’s take the plunge.
ChatGPT is all anyone in legal wants to talk about right now, and for good reason.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m living in a #legaltech bubble. Over the last two years that I’ve recorded webinars sponsored by Axiom, I’ve dedicated several episodes to legal technology, which is an area of real for some folks in-house (this is Axiom’s primary audience). And the audiences for these webinars have always been solid and I always get a healthy number of questions during Q&A. In my last webinar of 2022, for example, I talked about how 2023 was going to be the year of AI. I hadn’t full wrapped my mind around ChatGPT/GenAI but what I had seen convinced me that we were in the middle of a paradigm shift. Audience size was solid and there were half a dozen or more questions from the audience.
Smash cut to yesterday, and this webinar focusing on ChatGPT is sold out and the sheer number of questions from the audience (which ranged from law students to in-house counsel and law firm partners) was more than 10x a normal webinar. Questions continued to pour in and, if not for my guests having a hard stop, we would have kept going and continued receiving more questions and comments. We’re likely going to have a part 2 to this webinar + I imagine AI will continue to be a topic of discussion throughout the year. Btw, mine wasn’t the only webinar on ChatGPT and legal airing yesterday. My friend Tom Martin was hosting a webinar just a few hours later that looked like it was sold out as well!
The point is that I’m not in a bubble this time. Everyone in legal is paying attention to ChatGPT, not just the legaltech nerds. This @#$% is going mainstream.
One of the people asking questions wanted to know why OpenAI is different than any of the other legaltech startups that we’ve seen till now. I’m getting this question a lot, so let me share my initial answer but in the form of a question: when was the last time that a person in marketing was using the same legal technology tool as their friends in legal? My guess is never. Marketing and sales have their tools and legal has theirs. That is changing — we’re all about to use the same thing. Gravity Stack’s Bryon Bratcher and I wrote an essay on Legal Evolution about the interest in CLM and contract tech being a product of the fact that everyone in the organization cares about contract, not just legal.
Ok, ChatGPT is like CLM but times a thousand and on steroids.
In a recent interview, OpenAI founder Sam Altman explained that until now, startups have built AI that aims to understand one specific thing really well. But this new AI knows a little bit about everything. This, explains Altman, allows it to be fine-tuned for specific purposes, such as practicing law.
Altman was describing this from a product perspective, but I’m talking about the social implications. This is a major shift from the past. With ChatGPT and other advanced AI technologies, legal, marketing, and sales professionals will be able to use the same tools for their specific needs. It’s not just the folks in other departments. It’s your kids, your friends and your colleagues outside of work — we’re all on the same platform.
ChatGPT (and GenAI in general) looks to me more like an iPhone. Everyone’s using it.
You know what else everyone is doing? Subscribing to this newsletter of course and you should too! I’m Zach Abramowitz, and you have now been legally disrupted!
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