UNC Law Students Can Now Register for Copilot, a Law-trained Large Language Model  

May 10, 2023

LawDroid’s Copilot is a new law-trained large language model (LLM.) It works similar to ChatGPT, but is made specifically for legal research and analysis. It’s now available for free to law students (registration is available here.) To register, you need to sign up using your UNC email to confirm that you are a law student.

This post will walk through some of the primary things Copilot can do.

First, it can find a list of cases for you based on a legal issue you provide:

The quality of results will depend on the quality of your prompt. Try to include as much detail as possible, including relevant facts, terms of legal art, and jurisdiction. Be sure to clearly specify whether or not you are interested in state cases, federal cases, or both.

Copilot will respond to your prompt with a list of cases. From there, it can: (1) preview the case and show you potentially relevant language; (2) research the case, which allows you to ask follow-up questions about it; and (3) brief the case for you. LLM’s are great at summarizing text, and Copilot is no different, so its ability to brief cases is one of its most helpful features.

Copilot has a “prompt” mode that functions more similarly to ChatGPT and other LLMs. Much like its case research feature, the quality of response you get will depend on the quality of prompt you provide.

This feature obviously has broad uses, but we recommend focusing on tasks A.I. is good at: summarizing, reformatting data, proofreading, etc. Rather than doing all your research for you, it can instead help you automate routine, time-intensive tasks or provide a starting point for your research that you can later verify with authoritative sources.

Finally, Copilot has a specific email drafting function. It is very helpful to specify the roles of yourself and the recipient of the email. With both Copilot and ChatGPT you can specify a tone or writing style for the email which can help generate better results. This can be a great tool to use if you have writers block and aren’t sure how to start an email or piece of writing. Even if you don’t end up using what it generates at all, sometimes serving as an editor rather than a writer can help jump-start ideas.

AI tools like Copilot and ChatGPT should be used as supplements to legal expertise, not replacements. While these tools can provide valuable insights and assistance, they frequently hallucinate. Anything you get from Copilot, ChatGPT, or any other similar service should be thoroughly fact-checked.

It looks like these AI-based tools are here to stay as part of a lawyers research toolbox. Becoming familiar with using them will help give you a step up as a legal researcher. Law students are able to register for Copilot now. I recommend taking it for a test drive and trying out the many features it offers.

As always, if you have any questions about ChatGPT, Copilot, or any research question, the law library is here to help.