'I Did Not Comprehend That ChatGPT Could Fabricate Cases'

Lawyer tells judge he was 'duped' by AI
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2023 9:49 AM CDT
Lawyer Says He Was 'Duped' by ChatGPT
"I continued to be duped by ChatGPT. It’s embarrassing," Schwartz said.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

A lawyer who used ChatGPT to create a legal brief is likely to face sanctions—though some might feel the embarrassment he suffered during a hearing Thursday is punishment enough. The New York Times reports that Steven Schwartz was grilled for almost two hours by US District Judge Kevin Castel, who "gesticulated often in exasperation, his voice rising as he asked pointed questions." In a personal injury case involving Colombian airline Avianca, Schwartz submitted a brief citing several court decisions like "Varghese v. China Southern Airlines," all of which had been invented by ChatGPT.

Schwartz, who has been practicing law since 1991, told the judge that he had heard about ChatGPT from his college-age children and "falsely assumed" the artificial intelligence tool was like "a super search engine." "I did not comprehend that ChatGPT could fabricate cases," said Schwarz, who told the judge he felt "embarrassed, humiliated, and extremely remorseful." "There were many things I should have done to assure the veracity of these cases," Schwartz said, per Bloomberg. "I failed miserably at that.” He said he was "duped" by ChatGPT, which had assured him that the cases were real.

The judge said he would rule at a later date on sanctions against Schwartz and colleague Peter LoDuca. Ronald Minkoff, an attorney for their law firm, argued that the filing "resulted from carelessness, not bad faith," the AP reports. He said Schwartz "thought he was dealing with a standard search engine" when he used the new technology, but "what he was doing was playing with live ammo." The Times reports that the Manhattan federal courtroom was packed with lawyers, law students, and professors. "This case has reverberated throughout the entire legal profession,” says legal commentator David Lat. “It is a little bit like looking at a car wreck." (Read more ChatGPT stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.