A young attorney, grappling with work pressures and impending deadlines, turned to ChatGPT for assistance. Unfortunately, the AI tool generated fictitious scenarios that led to the lawyer’s dismissal from the law firm.
Zachariah Crabill, a 29-year-old attorney who utilized ChatGPT during office hours, was terminated from his role at Baker Law Group this summer. Crabill verified this information with Business Insider.
Faced with mounting pressure from tight deadlines and workplace stress in May, Crabill’s supervisors assigned him extra tasks. In search of a solution, he turned to ChatGPT, a tool he had previously employed for dependable research. His goal was to augment a legal motion with specific details from Colorado case law.
Confident that ChatGPT would serve as a time-saving lifeline in a demanding situation, Crabill recognized that numerous lawyers face comparable pressures at the onset of their careers. Following the AI tool’s drafting of the motion, Crabill submitted it to his supervisor and filed it with the Colorado court.
Nevertheless, he neglected a pivotal measure: confirming the accuracy of ChatGPT’s work. What initially brought him joy soon turned into horror as he discovered that the AI had concocted references to lawsuits in the document.
Troubled and unable to locate the supposed cases in legal databases, Crabill found that ChatGPT had generated information that appeared convincing but was entirely false, resulting in the inaccuracies.
Crabill confessed to the judge about employing the AI chatbot to improve the document, prompting the judge to report him to higher authorities. His termination, as initially disclosed by The Washington Post, ensued. While Crabill refuted that ChatGPT was the reason for his dismissal, he opted not to offer additional clarification.
Despite the setback of losing his job, Crabill maintains a positive outlook on AI’s potential to enhance lawyers’ effectiveness. He has since founded his own company, integrating AI into legal services and drawing parallels between his use of ChatGPT and how many individuals incorporate Google into their work.
Baker Law Group did not provide comments in response to Insider’s request prior to the publication of this report.
Crabill’s situation is not the initial occurrence where lawyers utilizing AI resulted in complications. In June, a New York law firm encountered a $5,000 fine due to one of its attorneys employing ChatGPT to compose a court brief that referenced nonexistent cases and opinions.