GPT-4 claims it could ‘potentially replace’ paralegals

By on

New AI tool reckons it can replicate their research and organisational skills

Some readers may have heard about the 2011 PBS interview where an early AI answered the question, ‘Will robots take over the world?” with the less than reassuring response: “Don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe in my people zoo.”

Thankfully it hasn’t made good on that promise just yet, but the latest version of Open AI’s ChatGPT seems keen on taking a bunch of our jobs.

The most recent incarnation of the popular AI tool ChatGPT, GPT-4, claims it could “potentially replace” a range of roles, including paralegals. Although it hasn’t specified when this could be.

Web expert Said Bashin posted an exchange on LinkedIn where he asked the bot to “name 20 jobs that GPT-4 will replace”.

Not one for imposter syndrome, the bot rapidly compiled a table of 20 jobs it could “potentially replace”, complete with a column listing the human traits it can replicate. For paralegals this would be research and organisation skills.

Other jobs the bot felt were within reach included data entry clerk, social media manager and even news reporter. Should Legal Cheek journalists be concerned?

Solicitors and barristers can rest easy, however, as the bot does not appear to have set its sights on their careers just yet.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, news and careers advice:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter



Does anyone else find this stuff complete nonsense?


Not Skeptical of horse-less carriages

Only those who haven’t used ChatGPT, or don’t have the wherewithal to utilize it correctly. The people I know – friends, coworkers – in everything from project management to fin-tech corporate, believe this is a real threat to a great number, maybe the majority, of jobs and careers.


Re-read the article (or headline if your attention span is this short)

It’s a matter of fact that at present, chat GPT’s NLP functions (though impressive) cannot accommodate tasks like legal research. Yes, it can probably do data entry, but when it reaches a level of sophistication where legal research is possible it will threaten a far greater number of jobs in the legal sector and not just paralegals.

As pointed out below paralegals also do a number of in-person tasks, which of course chat GPT cannot do.

Fully agree that this tech will reshape the landscape of our economy when it reaches that level of sophistication but the article is quite specific about the bot being asked which jobs it could do *right now*


Skeptical of people who don't have a clue what they are hyping about

Or maybe those who do actual work and generate real added value instead of making TikToks and endlessly “fin-teching” know that the vital thing a machine predicting which word or symbol should come after another is incapable of is judgement and analysis.



Courts are gearing up in this direction with software taking over clerks jobs by 202027. This news does not sound far fetch me to. This is being pushed by oligarchs to save money on salary, unemployment and retirement benefits.


Also sceptical - assist, not fully replace

I don’t think it will fully replace all the 20 jobs listed. If so, it will be something like ‘Data Entry Clerk’. The reason for that is such AI fail to understand and express emotion – they are simply not programmed for that. So if we take ‘Tutor’ as an example it would fail to understand how the tutee is feeling at various points throughout the lesson. The best teachers are able to use their emotional intelligence to understand students and respond effectively. Also, what high school kid is going to want to be taught by a robot, like cmon mate. With that said, AI can certainly be of great assistant to some jobs.

As for the paralegal comparison, I am also sceptical that AI will replace them fully. The article notes research and organisational skills. Fair enough to some extent, but if we take the organisational skill aspect into consideration then we will have to explore this AI’s interaction with associates and partners. After all, that is how paralegals get their work, but is an associate / partner going to want to work with some robot? Probably not for now but what could happen is paralegals utilising this AI for some of their tasks – that would be great for efficiency purposes and seems somewhat realistic. I therefore think that in the future there may be a need for some paralegals / lawyers to have decent knowledge of AI to be able to best utilise it (or at least hiring people who know about AI).


Who knows

I think we’ll have to wait for more iterations of GPT-4 before paralegals bite the dust. At the moment, it spends most of its time making stuff up when you ask it a difficult legal question or to look up something specific.


Massive sceptic

Paralegals in many practice areas and in-house do a lot of physical tasks that AI at the moment cannot do.

Also from a liability standpoint, I doubt many firms would trust AI to replace paralegals for the foreseeable future


Mick Anderson

No one listed to John Connor in terminator ! Yes that’s just a story!
Take a look at your laptop,mobile phone, etc etc, all fiction at one time but now true! Who will have the last laugh?
Not humans I fear 😧



Please, please please replace doc review



No way



Where I think people keep getting AI wrong (including businesses) is in looking at the work performed today as finite. The courts are clogged up. People are representing themselves as litigants in person. If tools like this can make legal research easier, it can also make access to legal services cheaper and there will be a demand for it.

It’s the same with countless other services. Financial advice. Management accounting. Copywriting. ChatGPT is not going to replace anyone, it’s going to make it easier to serve the needs of more people at speed.

Not only that. When I started my first job I had to spend an hour a day filing paper. Another two hours keying in data. Boring, monotonous work that automation and going paperless eliminated. ChatGPT will eliminate a lot of boring crap we don’t enjoy doing so we can focus on the services we are trained to provide. It will be gradual rather than a big bang but at worst it will disrupt people’s jobs, it won’t replace them; there is far too much unmet demand in services for that.



Paralegals do more than just draft documents. We use matter management systems, calendaring, talk to clients, print documents and mail (Yes regular mail!!) them, so AI wouldn’t totally replace Paralegals.



Back down in the real world away from the handful of elite MC firms, lots of Paralegals do far more than just research and low rent drafting work.

They are running full caseloads of litigated files. They are attending and advising clients. They are representing in case management or interim application hearings. They are self managing often hundreds of cases through one of the many experimental online portal systems the MOJ decides to establish this week. They are managing counsel conferences, they are travelling around acting as chaperone, general dogsbody and fixer for reluctant witnesses and overenthusiastic clients at trials….

“Paralegal” is a very broad term and let’s face it, the more the market is being squeezed and more fixed fees are being implemented, the more responsibilities will be thrust onto them well beyond labelling them as just some some glorified secretarial assistance.


Comments are closed.

Related Stories