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Home » Black Boxes: Demystifying Misuse of AI in Legal Cases

Black Boxes: Demystifying Misuse of AI in Legal Cases


Rapid development in artificial intelligence has led to the misuse of AI in legal cases, too. You may be surprised to read it, but it is true. It’s happening rapidly, with generative AI playing its hand in increasing this misuse of AI technology to affect the judicial system.


Former president Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, admits to using AI citations in legal battles. It came as a complete surprise when the US district judge who was hearing the case for an early end to the supervised release of Michael Cohen found that case citations submitted in support of the release of Michael Cohen don’t exist at all.


This came to reality when Cohen admitted that the citation, he submitted to his lawyer for a motion to end his supervised release was generated using Bard AI, a generative AI algorithm like ChatGPT.These citations were submitted without verifying the  authenticity of them to check if they exist actually in legal system.

Let's understand now what generative AI ?

Generative AI is a computer program or algorithm that can generate things like text, images, or even codes when prompted to do it with a set of correct instructions feed to it.


These generative algorithms are trained on billions of gigabytes of data to understand images, text, or codes and then generate similar output when asked to perform.


Two Programs dominating the Generative AI world?

  1. Bard: a product of Google
  2. ChatGPT: a development of open AI supported by Microsoft

People worldwide widely use these two generative programs to help them produce content and images or write computer software program codes for their problems.

AI use in Legal System:

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AI is helping the legal system by providing quicker searches and summaries of cases for lawyers. Like e-discovery software, AI programs can quickly scan thousands of patients, bring out relevant information from past cases, and help lawyers find studies that can help build their present circumstances. Conducting vast searches quickly to find cases, regulations, laws, acts, or judications helps the legal system.

Main Benefit of employing AI in legal cases:

  • A quick scan of a large number of cases
  • Getting a quick summary of a selected case to understand the whole story
  • Finding laws or jurisdictions that can help in present cases based on past case reference
  • Acts used in past cases to bring those cases to an end can be appropriately found, which can be used by lawyers in present cases to get faster verdicts or prepare sound defences for their cases.

Misuse of AI in Legal Cases or Legal System

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With the advent of these AI tools, lawyers and aggrieved parties are using these tools to help them browse through huge data of past cases of many decades to find clues or acts or rules for judgment that can help.

Many people are unaware of which AI tool to use for their help and employ famous generative AI tools such as Bard or ChatGPT. Both these productive tools are trained for data from every sphere of life, like science, history, art, culture, law, medicine, entertainment, etc. As these tools are not legal-specific AI software like case text or fast case type of legal AI software, the data generated by these general generative AI tools will often be far from truth or reality.

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When counsels like lawyers or aggrieved parties start depending on these generative AI tools for their search results, it will often be far from the real truth. Misuse of AI in legal cases happened in the case of Michael Cohen, who used generative AI to generate citations for his support and gave them to an attorney who should have verified them before submitting them to the court. The result we all know is a misuse of AI in legal cases, which ultimately brings a bad name to technology.

No technology is bad or good. We decide how to use this technology, whether good or bad. If AI tools are used with the right perspective, they will help the legal world ease their workload of doing searches and getting a summary out of that research. But if it’s used to generate cases defence without verfication of output data , then it’s a Pandora’s box that will give results, which often will be far from reality.


AI tools are used for research, it’s a boon, but when used to generate fabricated content for legal defence, you will be sorry when your lies are caught with the truth. Although AI tools are powerful, they are not infallible or free from mistakes. The onus to employ them judiciously lies clearly with legal people who are not only aware of legal system implications but also know how to use the technology of correct AI tools, which are there to assist them but not to replace them completely.


If you find how AI is helpful in the legal system, check out how AI is helping agriculture harness its potential to the fullest.

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