ChatGPT is all the rage these days. Ask it a question and it gives you an answer. But use it at your own risk, as some New York attorneys recently discovered.

If you are unfamiliar, ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence that is largely free to use. It is still a work in progress. Many people are using ChatGPT in place of a Google or Bing search.

Two lawyers in New York’s Federal Southern District Court filed a brief with the court. The brief turned out to have citations to six non-existent cases. Six. The judge (or his clerk) actually looked up those cases and lo and behold, not real. The court issued an order to show cause to the attorneys for a hearing on why the lawyers shouldn’t be sanctioned. Lying to the court is a really bad thing for lawyers, who are officers of the court. I suspect the lawyers may also face ethics (professional conduct) charges over this.

I have also read that some self-represented (pro se) litigants have also used ChatGPT for filings. This too is a really bad idea. Lying to the court is also a bad thing for pro se litigants.

I see people who file EEOC complaints come into my mediations with all kinds of Google research showing how much they can win. Everyone thinks they have million-dollar cases. The problem is that the facts in the Google cases do not match their specific case. In fact, many times their Google search and misunderstanding of the law misleads them in their own case. A large part of my job is helping people understand the realities of their cases.

Attorneys study law for 3 years and learn even more practicing. Specialization means something in the law profession, as it does in medicine. I don’t want my dermatologist to perform cardiac bypass surgery on me. In the same vein (yes, it’s a pun), I don’t want a career criminal attorney representing me in a family matter or divorce.

My point is to make sure you have a good lawyer. It makes a difference in a case and in the mediation I perform. And I can quickly tell the good attorneys from the average ones.

Most cases, including divorces, settle. ChatGPT won’t help you with that. Use mediation to get there more quickly and less expensively. Contact me to find out more.

Update (6/27/23): The attorneys in the case above were sanctioned $5000.  They were also required to inform their client of the sanction as well as the judges who supposedly authored the non-existent cases.