You’ve probably seen Open AI’s ChatGPT taking the internet by storm over the last few days. Students are using it to draft their final exams, programmers are using it to write code, and some are claiming it may replace Google in the next few years. But are there any implications for family law? I put it to the test, and the results took me by surprise.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice, and any responses from ChatGPT should be taken with a grain of salt. As mentioned on the Open AI website, ChatGPT might provide plausible-sounding but incorrect answers, and the tool is not intended to provide legal advice. Nonetheless, it provides an interesting look into how Artificial Intelligence might shape the legal profession. This is not an endorsement for ChatGPT or Open AI, nor am I advocating for its commercial or legal use.
Drafting Requests for Production with ChatGPT
With the rise of cryptocurrency, we’ve seen Requests for Production evolve to include crypto wallets and other crypto assets. I asked ChatGPT to give me some guidance on what practitioners might want to include – and I got back a pretty decent response.
Crypto RFP Suggestions
Prompt: What should I include in my Request for Production to discover crypto wallets and assets?
Not bad for a computer (it even recommended asking for a private key)!
Let’s take it one step further. This time, I gave ChatGPT more details to draft a Request for Production specific to a particular case.
Drafting an RFP with Specific Case Details
Prompt: Draft a Request for Production that an attorney could send to opposing counsel as part of a DuPage County, Chicago divorce proceeding with petitioner John Doe and respondent Jane Smith filed January 1, 2023. The RFP should exhaustively request: a) employment information b) pay stubs or proof of income c) tax returns d) bank statements e) documents verifying debts and assets f) self-employment income g) anything that could affect monthly gross income.
To: Opposing Counsel
Re: Request for Production of Documents in Doe v. Smith Divorce Proceeding (DuPage County Case No. 1234567)
Pursuant to the Illinois Rules of Civil Procedure and the ongoing divorce proceeding between John Doe and Jane Smith, I am writing to request that you produce the following documents on behalf of your client:
- Employment information, including but not limited to job titles, dates of employment, and salary or hourly wage information.
- Pay stubs or other proof of income for the past three years.
- Tax returns for the past three years, including all schedules and attachments.
- Bank statements for all accounts held by your client for the past three years.
- Documents verifying all debts and assets of your client, including credit card statements, mortgage statements, car loan documents, and documents relating to any other debts or assets.
- Information and documents relating to any self-employment income of your client, including but not limited to business income tax returns, receipts, and records of expenses.
- Any other documents that could affect your client’s monthly gross income, including but not limited to spousal support or child support payments, bonuses, stock options, or other forms of income.
Please provide the requested documents within 30 days of the date of this letter. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Use Cases in Practice Management
One thing ChatGPT does really well is to recall earlier parts of a conversation. I fed ChatGPT the Illinois Financial Affidavit for family and divorce cases. Then, I asked it to produce a standard form that clients could fill out. Once again, it spit out a pretty decent response!
Prompt: Create a form that an attorney’s client can fill out. This form should include fields from the Illinois Standardized Divorce Financial Affidavit that pertains to finances, monthly gross income, monthly living expenses (household, transportation, personal, and child-related), debts, and assets
ATTORNEY-CLIENT FINANCIAL INFORMATION FORM
Enter your full name: _______________________________________________
1. My Monthly Gross Income
a. Employment income: $____________
b. Self-employment income: $____________
c. Other income: $____________
Total monthly gross income: $____________
2. My Monthly Living Expenses
a. Household expenses: $____________
b. Transportation expenses: $____________
c. Personal expenses: $____________
d. Child-related expenses: $____________
Total monthly living expenses: $____________
[Cut for brevity]
If you’re like me, the gears inside your head are turning at the possibilities! Done-for-you document creation has so many use cases across the entire practice.
Finding Financial Anomalies
As someone in the financial analytics space, this last one got me really excited. Imagine you’re working with a client who suspects their spouse is hiding real estate in New York. The family lives in Texas, and opposing counsel has mentioned nothing about out-of-state properties in their financial affidavit. The total marital estate is estimated to be valued at $3–7 million, and you have tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of financial transactions. There are usually breadcrumbs leading up to the hidden asset, but it’s often a needle in a haystack situation.
I used ChatGPT to simulate this situation. First, I generated a couple hundred financial transactions and added a utility bill payment in New York. I then fed those transactions into ChatGPT and asked it to list transactions related to real estate, giving it examples like utility, water, gas, electricity, and rent payments. Finally, I got back a list of 30 transactions and then told ChatGPT to exclude anything in Texas. Voila! In just a few minutes, I was able to narrow the list down to two flagged payments!
Admittedly, the technology still has a way to go (I had to specifically tell ChatGPT to not make up transactions out of thin air, as it was initially doing). However, with advancements in technology, software will be able to reliably isolate financial anomalies and give family lawyers unprecedented levels of insight into financial data.
AI-Led Advancements are the Future of Family Law
In conclusion, the integration of AI into family law has the potential to greatly improve the delivery of legal services, from drafting documents to analyzing financials and performing case management. While there are likely to be many more use cases for AI in this field that we have yet to imagine, it is important that we approach the implementation of this technology with caution. We must consider the ethical, legal, and moral implications of AI in family law and ensure that it is used in a responsible and fair manner. Overall, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way that family law is practiced and can help to improve the lives of families and individuals going through difficult legal proceedings.
*This conclusion was written by ChatGPT
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