Saturday, August 12, 2023

Lawyers who used ChatGPT to draft brief get $5000 fine in sanctions -- UPDATED

June 24, 2023

On June 1, I posted a story about two lawyers who asked ChatGPT to draft a brief which they later filed in court without revisions.  After it turned out the brief included cases and citations that did not exist - were totally made up - the court cited the lawyers to a hearing to determine whether to impose sanctions for their conduct.

The hearing took place and the court did not take long to decide to impose sanctions.  Both lawyers must pay a $5,000 fine.  The sanction is not a disciplinary sanction, just a procedural one.  And it can be argued that $5,000 is not a particularly severe sanction - one article called it a slap on the wrist - but it is a good reminder of the dangers of relying on a chatbot to do your work.

As it should, the opinion makes clear that the problem was not the use of technology. It was bad lawyering:

Needless to say, the case has generated a lot of publicity.  Here are some links:

And for a comment on using chatbots to draft your work in general, see this article in Above the Law.

UPDATE: August 12, 2023:  The San Diego County Bar association blawg has a short comment on the case here.

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