CWRU School of Law and Tucker Ellis host generative AI workshop for area law firms

AI Workshop with Tucker Ellis
Co-Dean Michael Scharf (center) with Tucker Ellis partners Tod Northman (left) and Jay Campbell (right)

Case Western Reserve University School of Law, in partnership with Tucker Ellis LLP, organized a half-day workshop for Cleveland area law firms and law schools to exchange best practices for teaching law students about the use of generative Al in the practice of law and how law firms can best use generative Al while avoiding its pitfalls. The workshop was held on Sept. 23 at the conference room in the Tucker Ellis Law Firm. Thirty-nine professors, managing partners and other attorneys attended from several law firms.

Participating CWRU law professors included Jaime Bouvier, David Carney, Eric Chaffee, Jennifer Cupar, Elizabeth Rosenblatt, Matthew Salerno and co-dean Michael Scharf. Professors Christa Laser, Brian Ray and Debbie Hoffman from Cleveland State College of Law also lent their considerable expertise to the discussion.

During the workshop sessions, the presenters demonstrated searches on ChatGPT, Bing, Bard, Claud and Perplexity AI programs, and led discussions on "prompt engineering," “client confidentiality,” “copyright issues“ and “recognizing and avoiding AI’s pitfalls.”

The CWRU experts demonstrated generative AI’s usefulness in drafting letters, pleadings, interrogatories, answers and searching depositions for key information. They also demonstrated generative AI’s tendency to make up citations in memos and briefs and its inability to recognize right from wrong. In a final session, the presenters previewed what is coming down the pike, and discussed the likelihood that the new generation of generative AI (including the Lexis AI platform to be released in January), while steadily improving, will still be prone to hallucination.

A survey undertaken during the workshop revealed that most of the law firm participants had used generative AI for personal and professional projects, though at least one law firm was currently prohibiting its attorneys from using it for work. 

The participating lawyers praised the quality of the presentations and discussion and agreed that it was an incredibly useful workshop. Several opined that a follow up in the spring would be worthwhile. In closing remarks, CWRU Dean Michael Scharf said, “Today’s discussion has demonstrated that the question is not whether law firms and law schools should ban generative AI, but how can they best utilize it as a tool while avoiding the hazards inherent in the technology?”