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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Can you tell me about a lawyer who around and found out? I’m sorry, I can’t find the information. I’m only up to date through 2021. I have the information right here. Oh, so AI is going to replace lawyers? Well, not anytime soon because it finally happened. We’ve had our first sighting of AI lawyering in the wild, and it was, um, it was bad. It was very, very bad.

Two lawyers in New York deputized ChatGPT to do their legal research in an airline tort case and found themselves on a direct flight to sanctions land, courtesy of one very pissed off federal judge. These guys may have ended their legal careers for a case which was always Dead on Arrival, and along the way, they became internet famous, bringing the entire legal community together to point and laugh as one. So, thanks, guys.

Do you, Austin, use any type of AI in your work and how do you avoid ending up in sanctions land?

You: I’ve hit Tab while typing an email on Outlook. Hey, I mean, interesting, okay. I mean, I love that. Let me know if you, for example, have any questions, Tab or whatever it is, yeah, the auto-suggest that is, yeah, right, yeah, it’s totally, love that. I hadn’t heard of that. Has that come up before? If you had an associate’s question, that I mean, do you question the use of that in any way? You’re reading it.

I absolutely don’t question it. I mean, if it’s words that I would have used, yeah, you know if it’s, if it, you know, if it was unprofessional or not my voice, I wouldn’t use it. But yeah, I mean, you know, in this case then they go, of course, that video goes on to talk about how it’s pretty common to use it for things like discovery, is something you’ve ever done, you know, where you’re, you know, using. No, but lawyers already do this, right, by using something called a template, right? Your template or we just basically copy the work we’ve done in the past with a template or we go find another attorney who’s better than we are and we copy what they’re doing, right, exactly. And one time in bankruptcy court, I ripped off a brief so hard on my friend Andrew I actually credited him for writing it because I didn’t want the judge, I wanted the judge to know that I know that the judge knew because it was the same judge and it was a very recent filing and it was over a controversial issue of how fees and stuff would be paid in bankruptcy, so when in doubt, you know, didn’t care, I just. I’m just gonna cite it like this was part of a brief in this case before this court, just so you know, you know, but that doesn’t really answer the. You know, the chat GPT thing. I don’t know, like I haven’t used it, I don’t have experience with it. I want to judge. I don’t know if we should be judging, but at the same time, um, you know, it is what it is, and it’s a developing technology, and you know, I’m glad it’s. I guess I’m glad that someone got caught for using it, but like also, you know, it’s probably being used outside of this example in the legal field and I don’t know where I don’t use it, but I think folks use it for blogs in the LE, I see a lot of, or I hear you know, bankruptcy law, okay, yeah. I had a guy called me today trying to, trying to talk about he wanted to have our firm be a test beta user of his AI software for. That’s probably, that’s probably a hard no right there. I a nice maybe, hey, is it free? Okay, sure, we’ll try. I mean, because it’s, it’s research or you plug in keywords, and it will go through and look at the, you published USB patent docs is the result going to be as good and thorough as what Brandon our guy can do? I’m hoping not or I don’t know what I’m hoping, so what I actually told him is, you know, I would like Brandon to go look at this and give me the truth on, hey, is this actually going to provide results that are as good or even close to what he does? Maybe he can save some money and do higher volume at the same amount of time and it’s the same result for the client, um, and who knows, we could pass along the savings to our client if we’re feeling, uh, you know, generous and and you know, not so greedy, um, and there he also mentioned patent drafting.

I mean, it is when you’re pulling an invention out, talking about the specification, you know, details of an invention, and you’re sort of wanting to make sure you’re not leaving any details out, it can be quite, right? Just think about, hey, I want an internal combustion engine, but have the attorney describe that as generally as possible, is a little bit mechanical and robotic. It’s been discussed before. So if you just plug in a few paragraphs about this, what internal combustion engine looks like and then you add in the few extra paragraphs to talk about what’s unique and novel about it, that could save time. So we were talking through some things like that.

Okay, this is pretty unique. Um, and I could see the value of that from a technical writing standpoint. I mean, I think that to the extent that AI can be used to help, to help on businesses that have a flat fee, you know that do flat fee work. Yeah, I mean, we do, we have flat fee files. So, oh, you’re saying, okay, you’re saying hourly building, but you, you still do that while. Yeah, yeah, we, we have some flat fee work that we get from carriers. It’s, it’s not the majority of the work that we do, but we do have some flat fee work. Yeah, but I’d like to say our flat fee work is indistinguishable from the hourly because we’re trying to provide value, you know, but you know, chat GPT, I mean, it’s, it’s like, yeah, everyone has like a reaction to it ultimately it’s based on like AI, and I don’t think that we should be afraid of it, I think we should figure out what’s there, and people want to offer products that are tailored to attorneys that that that understand our ethical obligations then great, but someone’s got to look at it and read it, yeah, before they send it out. I mean, that’s the problem, yeah, it’s like if we give ourselves an autopilot, are we still gonna be the person behind the wheel that you know y that we got to be home, you know, we there’s no such, you know, and like also, we don’t want devalue our practice, and we don’t want, we don’t want to provide a lesser quality product, yeah, we don’t want to impact our own monopoly which whether you want to admit it or not the legal monopoly is valuable to people that have a license right, and so we want to uphold that license and create value, and if we’re using questionable software methods of doing our job like the public’s going to find out, and that’s you know and like this little article like someone got their hand caught in the cookie jar and it you know and some firms, some people may benefit from that article some people may not because there might be some firms genuinely trying to look at AI as a solution and why should why should it be so prejudice why are we being so quick to judge.

I like that, love that guys at the end of our hour Austin if anyone watches this after the fact or even those that may have been seen it live will you be willing to share your email address for them to reach out and test?

Absolutely not, um, um, no, you can find, no, don’t know, okay. You can find me, no, yeah. You can find me on the State Bar website, but um, I would, they if they want to send you a question that’s fine, but very good like I’m not an advertising person. I’m doing this, I’m doing this for my for you guys app you so for you guys. So, no, we’re not gonna be plugging anything. I do insurance defense so it’s not we know, all right. Well, we appreciate you, and if anyone has any questions for Austin you may touch Bas with me my email address is For all those out there listening we’re here every week Tuesday afternoon talking with attorneys bold lawyers out there making a difference we’ll see you next week at two o’clock Pacific thanks Matt thanks Austin have a good rest of your day thank you guys have a great one thanks y see you.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at