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Coming soon to a court near you? Can a bot pass the bar, or appear in your court’s traffic docket?

January 11, 2023

By Bill Raftery

With the recent surge of interest in ChatGPT (a chatbot launched by OpenAI in November 2022) and AI-created writings, the question of whether or not courts will have to confront these issues has moved from the distant future to the present day. Three recent items demonstrate just how quickly these concepts could be appearing in courts.

Researchers at Chicago Kent College of Law, Bucerius Law School Hamburg, and the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics (CodeX) took OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 and tested to see if the system could pass the multiple choice portions of the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). Overall GPT-3.5 got 50.3% of answers correct, far better than just random guessing (25%). Moreover, GPT 3.5 was able to get a passing grade in both Evidence (71%) and Torts (88%). The researchers speculated that newer AIs (such as GPT-4 and the Bloom family of models) will pass the MBE outright within the next 18 months.

An initial use case for AI in actual court proceedings is also set to launch in February 2023. Start-up company DoNotPay has announced an AI that purports to be “the world’s first robot lawyer.” Its system will be designed to literally speak into the ear of defendants in court hearings with the exact words the defendant should say. Should the defendant lose the case, DoNotPay has agreed to cover any fines.

UPDATE: In an announcement on January 25, 2023 the CEO of DoNotPay indicated their plans have been "postponed."

Finally, in December 2022, China’s high court announced its intention to have AI serve as a supplement for all judges by 2025. The plan calls for rulings to still be issued by humans, but that AI would be used for supplemental references. The guidelines, entitled Opinions on Regulating and Strengthening the Application of Artificial Intelligence in Judicial Fields, were released by the Supreme People’s Court and include other plans to allow for increased use of AI in other judicial areas by 2025 with corresponding rule improvements by 2023.

Is your court ready for AI? Are you using AI already? Share your experiences with us. For more information, contact or call 800-616-6164. Follow the National Center for State Courts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.