Is better case law data fueling a legal research boom? Recently, Rebecca Fordon noticed a surge of new and innovative legal research tools. Fordon wondered what could be fueling this increase, and set off to find out more.
Hallucinations in generative AI are not a new topic. If you watch the news at all (or read the front page of the New York Times), you’ve heard of the two New York attorneys who used ChatGPT to create fake cases entire cases and then submitted them to the court. After that case, which resulted in a media frenzy and (somewhat mild) court sanctions, many attorneys are wary of using generative AI for legal research. But vendors are working to limit hallucinations and increase trust. And some legal tasks are less affected by hallucinations. Law Librarian and attorney Rebecca Fordon guides us to an understanding of how and why hallucinations occur and how we can effectively evaluate new products and identify lower-risk uses.
The emergence of Large Language Models (LLMs) in legal research signifies a transformative shift. This article by Sean Harrington critically evaluates the advent and fine-tuning of Law-Specific LLMs, such as those offered by Casetext, Westlaw, and Lexis. Unlike generalized models, these specialized LLMs draw from databases enriched with authoritative legal resources, ensuring accuracy and relevance. Harrington highlights the importance of advanced prompting techniques and the innovative utilization of embeddings and vector databases, which enable semantic searching, a critical aspect in retrieving nuanced legal information. Furthermore, the article addresses the ‘Black Box Problem’ and explores remedies for transparency. It also discusses the potential of crowdsourcing secondary materials as a means to democratize legal knowledge. In conclusion, this article emphasizes that Law-Specific LLMs, with proper development and ethical considerations, can revolutionize legal research and practice, while calling for active engagement from the legal community in shaping this emerging technology.
Stephanie Farne, Legal Information Librarian and Lecturer in Law at Boston College Law School, raises increasingly important issues respective to the bias inherent in artificial intelligence powered search algorithms, both on the Internet and in commercial databases.
This is Jerry Lawson’s interview with Carole Levitt, one of the country’s premier experts on Internet research, both legal and investigative. Her most recent book, coauthored with Judy Davis, is the second edition of her treatise Internet Legal Research on a Budget.
Caren Luckie, Research Attorney at Jackson Walker LLP, acknowledges what so many of us know, that during COVID work from home we have all been very busy, and in many cases, even more than in past years. With no direct, in person contact with customers and clients, Luckie offers proactive ways to build and maintain visibility and value.
With the summer associate season upcoming, Caren Luckie offers suggestions to participants on how to maximize the in-person and virtual services and resources that will be available to them.
As many of you have surely experienced this semester, teaching legal research virtually poses a number of challenges, but Matthew Flyntz found that it also provides a few benefits over traditional in-person instruction. In a world of negativity, Flyntz looks on the bright side and focus on those positives in this article.
This is part one of an article by Marc Solomon calling on readers to be alert and respond effectively to critical and ongoing challenges – BS Detection in a World of Fake News and Real Threats.
Law Librarians: The Missing Link As Solo & Small Firm Lawyers Adapt to Artificial Intelligence – Part 1
In her three part article on AI in Legal Research and Law Practice, Carolyn Elefant, attorney, tech guru, and legal blogger, shares actionable information, knowledge and topical resources that were the foundation of her presentation at the AALL 2019 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Elefant’s mission has always been to ensure that solo and small firms have current information, not just on new technology developments, but also on how these new tools can be applied in practice. AI is a fast-moving target that presents significant challenges to professionals in many roles – lawyers, law librarians, KM, CI/BI, competitive intelligence, marketing, and research analysts to name but a few. Elefant’s primer illuminates the critical role law librarians play in the effective implementation of AI within their organizations. See also Part II and Part III.