The Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg features articles, reviews and news of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals. This blog is published by Ted Brooks, a Trial Presentation and Legal Technology Consultant, Author and Speaker. Ted's trial experience includes the Los Angeles Dodgers divorce trial, People v. Robert Blake murder trial, and a hundreds of high profile, high value and complex civil matters.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Stay in Your Lane

If you don't know what you're doing, don't do it. It's okay to hire someone else who does know what they are doing, but don't waste your own time, your client's money, and potentially your career trying to do things you know nothing about. There are experts for that.

Rule 1.1 in the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The original Rule 1.1 states: “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.” 

Comment 8: Maintaining Competence.
To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.

Q: Why would a lawyer use ChatGPT to cite cases?

From ChatGPT:

A: There could be several reasons why a lawyer might use ChatGPT to cite a case or seek legal information. Here are a few possibilities:

1. Research assistance: ChatGPT can provide quick access to legal information and precedents, making it a valuable tool for lawyers conducting legal research. Lawyers may use ChatGPT to find relevant cases, statutes, or legal principles to support their arguments.

2. Efficiency and convenience: ChatGPT allows lawyers to obtain information and answers in real-time. Instead of manually searching through extensive legal databases, they can ask specific legal questions to ChatGPT and receive prompt responses, saving time and effort.

3. Broad legal knowledge: ChatGPT has been trained on a wide range of legal texts, including case law, statutes, and legal opinions. As a result, it has a vast repository of legal knowledge that can be useful for lawyers when preparing for cases, drafting legal documents, or seeking guidance on complex legal issues.

4. Preliminary case assessment: Lawyers may use ChatGPT to get a preliminary understanding of the relevant legal principles and precedents related to a specific case. By inputting key details of the case, they can gauge how existing legal principles may apply, providing a starting point for further analysis.

5. General legal guidance: In situations where lawyers need quick answers to legal questions or require general legal guidance, ChatGPT can serve as a useful resource. It can provide insights into legal concepts, procedural matters, or general legal principles.

"However, it is important to note that while ChatGPT can provide valuable information, it should not be considered a substitute for professional legal advice. Legal professionals should exercise their own judgment, verify the accuracy of the information obtained, and rely on their legal training and expertise when applying it to specific cases."

Other than the introduction and question, everything is quoted directly from ChatGPT, including the final paragraph. This is going to be a tough lesson for some.

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