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Exploring AI’s Role in Legal Blogging: Insights from Yale’s New Seminar, “Writing Essays With AI”

November 27, 2023

More commentary of use to legal bloggers and legal marketing professionals on the AI in legal blogging front.

Rather than telling students to stay clear of AI in their writing, Yale offers a new English seminar, “Writing Essays with AI,” taught by Yale’s Ben Glaser, an associate professor of English.

While there are ethical concerns about AI compromising students’ academic integrity, there is also growing awareness of the ways in which AI tools might actually support and influence students in their research and writing, reports Lisa Prevost who sat down to talk with Glaser.

There’s some good takeaways for lawyers, law students, law professors and legal marketing professionals.

The big one being that AI is a nice assistant which should properly influence your writing, but not be a substitute for reliable sources of legal research or your final written product.

Prevost’s takeaways from the Glaser interview include:

  • Course Objectives: The course primarily explores ChatGPT’s influence on written expression, with emphasis on ethical usage. Final class assignments do not utilize ChatGPT or similar AI tools, though some tasks involve engaging with ChatGPT for learning purposes.
  • Student Perspectives on AI: Yale students seek to understand AI technology and improve their writing skills, recognizing the limits of AI in the writing process, especially in rigorous academic settings.
  • AI’s Role in Writing: Glaser views AI as a subject worth studying and a potential tool in the early stages of the writing process, like brainstorming or initial research. “I think there is a moment where you have a blank page, and you think you have a topic, and the process of refining that involves research. ChatGPT’s not the most wonderful research tool, but it sure is an easy one.” (perfect for blogging lawyers)
  • Using AI for Preliminary Research: ChatGPT assists a writer such as Glaser using AI in drafting the course syllabus by suggesting researchers and unit ideas, serving as a starting point for further development.
  • Comparing AI Tools with Traditional Resources: Glaser highlights the effectiveness of Yale’s library resources over AI tools for in-depth research, yet acknowledges the usefulness of AI for initial inquiries.
  • Creative Applications of AI in Writing: “One thing that some writers have done is, if you interact with it long enough, and give it new prompts and develop its outputs, you can get something pretty cool.”
  • Course Impact: The course is a popular one, attracting students from diverse disciplines, including computer science and STEM, aiming to make them critical consumers and thinkers in the context of AI-generated language.

We’ve not been down the legal blogging with AI road before. Analogies and lessons we can pick up like Yale’s seminar on AI in writing are helpful.

Helpful to me in teaching the use of AI and the value of AI to legal bloggers and legal marketing professionals as well.