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AI and the Rise of the
Superpowered Law Student

Throughout history, each new technological advance has brought along with it the two companions of fear and opportunity. 


Generative AI is no exception to this rule. As a law student who is part of the first wave of generative AI users, I am experiencing in a very personal way both the shaky ground and the tentative excitement of the tectonic shift AI is causing across industries, especially the legal industry. At the epicenter of the legal industry are law schools, where choices made reverberate strong and far. Here, if you pay attention, you can track the powerful historical patterns of technology and witness the rise of the superpowered law student.   


My fellow students and I are already powered by technological advances. The books in our library make a pleasant backdrop to our studies, but they gather dust as we mark up online cases with electronic highlighters, use online quizzes, notebooks, and digital flashcards to remember what we learned, research using online legal databases, and draft digital documents that can be instantly edited and emailed to our professors. The time I spend on these student tasks is miniscule compared to the long hours once dedicated to the same duties by the students in the sepia-toned class photos on the library walls. 


However, change has come to the library once again. A few days ago on a trusted online database for legal students, I found myself staring at a small button prompting me to draft a legal memo. A few details entered, and the response was quick. The output was organized and comprehensive. The cases cited were easily accessible. I thought back to the painful days this past semester I spent generating a first draft of a memo, when I could have started here and in a matter of minutes moved on to editing. 


I felt a sudden kinship with the sepia students on the wall. How will future generations of law students view me? Are my fellow students and I the last to laughably spend our time on assignments that future classes will finish in seconds? What incredible accomplishments could I achieve with the new tools flooding the legal industry? 


The opportunities seem clear, but the issues crowd close behind. A new style of teaching would need to be adopted at law schools, requiring a flexible mindset and hard work for professors. Core legal skills could wither if not nourished. Evaluating fairness, evaluating bias, evaluating trust–the legal industry moves carefully when it comes to anything new. 


This semester, I’ll be reading some very old legal cases, parsing almost indecipherable language and building to a modern understanding of the law. And someday in the future, students will still be drafting legal memos in an echo of my painful labors this past semester, and then will move on to crafting skillful AI prompts and properly editing AI-generated documents. 


The old is not discarded. The past will still be built upon. And with the help of generative AI, the superpowered law student will continue to rise. 


Creator's note: I usually like to walk readers through how I generated an article, but this one was all original and human-written by me! I tried to prompt ChatGPT-4 to get close to the feel and tone of my article but the results, while good and fairly personal-sounding, were still a little too corporate. Anything that needs to sound unique is still best written yourself. 

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