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Lexis+ AI, ChatGPT-4, and Other Tools for AI-enhanced Law Students

Generative AI is an important tool law students can use to maximize study time and someday add value to employers. However, keeping up with AI advances can feel like just another task on the endless to-do list, so I wanted to share some practical ways I personally use AI.

 

ChatGPT-4

 

I’ve been using ChatGPT-4 since I started law school, and it’s worth the monthly cost for me because I play with it a lot. Law professors often assume you have a basic understanding of terms and concepts that you don’t actually have as a new student, so Chat-GPT4 has been really helpful while I find my feet. My biggest use case now is keeping a tab with ChatGPT open during class so if a teacher mentions an unfamiliar term or concept I can type it into ChatGPT and get a quick and concise overview, versus Google where I have to sort through a dump of info and ads. ChatGPT-4 does well with explaining general legal concepts that have been around for a while, even if it’s not 100 percent accurate.

 

There are a lot of creative ways to use ChatGPT to study. I use ChatGPT to explain complicated concepts in simple terms or give concrete examples of legal concepts. One time I asked ChatGPT to explain what a promissory note was in a humorous way, so if you want to really remember a concept, that’s a great way to do it. I also used ChatGPT-4 during finals to generate test questions to practice my weak areas in certain subjects.

 

Right now, I don’t use ChatGPT-4 for anything officially school-related or other than self-study. I haven’t found a specific AI policy for my school, but most of my professors have one–they are still figuring out what to do with technology and they think it’s best to avoid it altogether at this point, so I find it best to remain firmly in the clear when it comes to AI use. 

 

Lexis+ AI

 

Game-changer, people. I just got access to play with this tool, and it was much more advanced than I expected. This is a precision tool–ChatGPT but focused on law. Lexis+ AI can answer legal questions and generate drafts of legal memos, arguments, client emails, letters, and clauses. Plus you can upload documents (PDFs! So hard to do with other tools!) and the tool will summarize them for you. I can pull a case up on Lexis+  and have the AI tool in a sidebar to answer legal questions, which I can see being really useful during class versus my current ChatGPT system which can only handle general questions. Can’t wait to test drive this more to help me study! 

 

A couple big issues that come up every time I’m in a legal AI discussion are trust and privacy. This tool was designed to confront those issues head on. You can see exactly what data this tool is pulling from, and you can easily verify results because of all the linked citations. Plus your searches are private and not stored. Other tools get pretty murky on this issue. The arguments against using legal AI are going to get weaker and weaker the more people use tools tailored to address the most problematic issues.

 

Lexis+ AI may seem magically easy, but it’s your job to know your tool. Practice with questions until you know the limitations, (state comparisons are still shaky) know how to prompt the tool to avoid bias, and realize that the more detailed you get and the more legal language you use, the better results you will get. As with all tools, your results are a first draft and you will need to edit your prompts and results to have a great finished product.  

 

The murky ground here is still using this tool within the parameters of what is allowed by your school. I think the best move for adoption would be to show professors how AI tools can make their lives easier. Once they are hooked on using AI to generate exam questions and grade exams, they will be more open to a world where we are all saving time and generating better work product by using AI. It’ll be a few years until AI is better integrated into coursework, but it’s still worth your time to train on this tool now. If you can quickly find legal answers and draft documents faster than anyone else using Lexis+ AI, imagine how you could stand out at your summer job!

 

Other Tools

 

There are a lot of legal tools out there, but most of them cost money because generative AI is expensive. I’m always keeping my eyes open for tools that are worth it, though–once I find a tool that has a decent user interface and can convert natural language into diagrams I will gladly pay up for that, because I love diagramming concepts and that tool would save me an incredible amount of time. 

 

What to focus on?

 

My top advice for fellow students trying to keep up with AI or learn a little bit is to watch study prompt crafting for generative AI. Watch a few videos, read a few articles, then practice a few prompts! With a good prompt, you can reach better results faster and get the most out of any AI legal tool your employers are using. With all the advances in AI, I see a future where a writing sample for employers is also accompanied by an example of your prompting skills. 

 

Finally…

 

Don’t stress! The whole point of these new AI tools is that they are intuitive and use natural language. You don’t have to be a tech expert to figure it out. Just play with it a little and get a feel for it, start your journey and I guarantee you will find ways generative AI can make your life easier.   

*Creator's Note: I reached my usage cap for the day on ChatGPT-4 thanks to having too much fun experimenting with DALL-E. (The image for this article was generated during that session, it's not quite right but still way better than the images generated by AI months ago for my other articles.) So this is another article generated solely by me! I went back and tried to duplicate the article with prompts...I could get the tone pretty similar but the actual content wasn't specific enough to pass for a personal review article.  

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