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ChatGPT Is a Lot More Valuable to Lawyers Now

3 min read

ChatGPT Is a Lot More Valuable to Lawyers Now

Lawyers complained that ChatGPT was not entirely useful to them because it was limited to data prior to September 2021 – a huge limitation for an attorney doing research or anything requiring access to data after 2021. It really prevented a lot of lawyers from using ChatGPT in any major way.
Rejoice! In late September 2023, OpenAI announced that ChatGPT can now browse the internet. Hurray!

We have been stymied time and again by not having current data from ChatGPT but today we were able to ask ChatGPT how Congress came to pass a short-term budget bill to avoid a government shutdown and it had all the most current information.

We could even determine what reliable sources are saying about the possibility of passing a new budget: “The likelihood of Congress passing a new budget before the short-term budget bill expires seems uncertain.” And it told us why. We could also see which sources it was consulting (very helpful) and they were all well-respected sources.

We asked for the most significant legal news on October 2, 2023 at noon and it chose the lawsuit filed against Amazon by the Federal Trade Commission and 17 states. They allege that Amazon abuses its market position to inflate prices, overcharge sellers, and stifle competition. Significant news indeed.
It was hard to stop playing with ChatGPT and pen this article!

How Do You Get ChatGPT to Browse Bing?

For author Nelson, that was the hardest part to figure out - which is where author Simek proved very useful. Here’s how you do it – and remember that, for the moment, the update is available only to premium users on ChatGPT’s “Plus” and “Enterprise” plans. However, OpenAI says the update will “expand to all users soon” but it did not give the timing of the update’s rollout.

You have to “turn on” the ability to access the internet by configuring ChatGPT to browse using Bing. From the main screen, click on the GPT-4 button at the top and click on the “Browse with Bing” option. A checkmark will display next to the option to let you know ChatGPT will now use Bing to get to the internet for current information.

Why did Bing get picked as the browser? Well, Microsoft owns 49% of OpenAI. Is the picture clearer now?
Add this to the fact that ChatGPT can now ‘speak’, listen and process images and you have a well-rounded tool at your command.

Meta Confesses That the Meta AI Chatbot Was Trained on Public Facebook and Instagram Posts – Both Texts and Photos

This September 2023 revelation did not sit well with a lot of people, including lawyers. Meta AI is still in beta and Meta said it excluded private posts shared with family and friends to preserve consumers’ privacy.
Meta President of Global Affairs Nice Clegg said, “We’ve tried to exclude datasets that have a heavy preponderance of personal information.”

Meta, Open AI and Alphabet’s Google have all been severely criticized for scraping data from the internet without permission to train their AI models.

As readers are likely aware, many book authors have filed lawsuits against these companies alleging that they are guilty of copyright infringement. It will be very interesting to see the outcomes in these lawsuits.

Securing AI

A lot of lawyers have asked about securing AI. From the lawyer’s point of view, you should always designate your conversations with AI as private and not to be used for training. For ChatGPT, which is what we use, you disable your chat history and opt out of having your ChatGPT data used to improve the models – you toggle the Data Controls setting Chat History & Training to OFF, whether you use the free or paid version of ChatGPT. 

There is some AI security that lawyers cannot control. For instance, AI companies struggle with such things as training data poisoning. Malicious actors can feed the AI tool flawed data or corrupt legitimate training data. This is obviously beyond the lawyer’s control, but lawyers must be aware of the possibility that the AI output may be corrupted.

AI companies are aware of the dangers and, presumably, acting to monitor for data poisoning and other AI security hazards.

There are many guides to implementing a secure AI framework that are entirely beyond the understanding of most lawyers. Which is why we recommend that lawyers use ONLY AI which has established a reputation for security.

As law firms began rapidly using AI, training law firm employees on the use of AI is becoming a critical component of law firm security – and training is too often omitted. While that’s another column entirely, be mindful of the dangers of failing to train.

When working with AI, it is often asked, “What could possibly go wrong?” The answer is “a lot.”

Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., is the President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., a digital forensics, cybersecurity and information technology firm in Fairfax, Virginia. Ms. Nelson is the author of the noted electronic evidence blog, Ride the Lightning and is a co-host of the Legal Talk Network podcast series called “The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology” as well as “Digital Detectives.” She is a frequent author (eighteen books published by the ABA and hundreds of articles) and speaker on legal technology, cybersecurity and electronic evidence topics. She was the President of the Virginia State Bar June 2013 – June 2014 and a past President of the Fairfax Law Foundation and the Fairfax Bar Association. She may be reached at

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