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Harnessing AI in Legal Writing: An Arkansas School District’s Perspective

October 2, 2023

Many legal professionals are quick to cut off the use of AI in a law student’s or a lawyer’s writing. Blog post, article, memorandum to the court, whatever.

Though far from the law is a lesson from Arkansas educators who are looking to harness the power of ChatGPT in a way that helps students.

In a story that teachers wanted to spark learning not cheating, Shawn Quinlan, the Bentonville School District’s English instructional specialist told Al Gaspeny of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,

In the English classroom, we’re being very careful to make sure that it’s not an AI tool that’s doing the work for the student but it’s a tool that is supplementing the instruction.”

A tool in that AI can start the ball rolling on a project, provide ideas and break writer’s block.

Richard Campbell of Fayetteville High School, told Quinlan.

I have seen students use AI programs to help generate their creative process. They will take the results of a prompt to inspire them and then personalize them to fit their needs. Another pro is that AI will generate text responses, which students can use to analyze and critique, which requires a very high level of thinking.

AI not doing the work of a student or committing plagiarism, but taking things to a higher level of thinking.

Leading a twenty year old legal blog publishing company and legal blog network, I’ll be the first to confess that AI in legal writing scares me – on multiple fronts.

But as I learn more and more about AI’s use in writing, through many own use if AI in my writing, I see its role as amplification of a lawyer or law student’s thinking and passion, not a replacement of their thinking. Taking thought to another level.

Am a I wrong?