1 in 5 students use AI to help with training contract and pupillage apps

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By Rhys Duncan on

Legal Cheek flash poll

One in five students say they have used artificial intelligence (AI) to assist with their training contract, vacation scheme and pupillage applications.

A recent Legal Cheek poll asked students on LinkedIn whether they had used AI platforms such as ChatGPT to help write applications for their dream legal roles. Of the 1,303 who responded, 268 (21%) confirmed that they had done so.

Last week Shoosmiths became one of the first firms to issue guidance on how to use AI when writing applications. Whilst the advice notes that there are a range of potential uses, namely in aiding time management, proofreading, and suggesting amendments to draft answers, the firm were clear that AI should not replace original and unique perspectives.

At the bar, meanwhile, the most recent pupillage recruitment cycle saw candidates applying through the Pupillage Gateway required to confirm that they had not used AI to write their answers.

Applications must be the “sole creation and original work” of the budding barrister, the statement read, with students required to accept that, “any application which has been written with the use of any generative AI LLMs like ChatGPT” will be excluded from the shortlisting process.

Whilst AI can be used in a range of ways to boost productivity and improve existing text, students should be aware of the risks of over reliance on imperfect tech. Last year two US lawyers were fined for relying on cases fabricated by ChatGPT, whilst a litigant in person in the UK received a telling off for citing nine fake authorities to a tax tribunal.

Over the past few months solicitors, barristers, and judges have all received guidance on the use of AI in their respective practices, with over a quarter of lawyers saying that they use AI on a regular basis.

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