Practice Directions GPT

A free tool for legal procedure research

Practice Directions GPT is a custom GPT using OpenAI’s ChatGPT, that has been given custom instructions and knowledge to assist litigants in finding the answer to their procedural question. It’s free to use but does require a ChatGPT Plus subscription to access (as do all other custom GPTs).

Why you should use AI for researching procedure

Courts and by extension, lawyers, have been cautious in using AI tools in their day-to-day practice, especially as it pertains to legal research. Generative AI chatbots have lost the trust of many lawyers for their “hallucinations”, where the large language model (LLM) provides uncited fictional case law without any hesitation about its accuracy (other than a general disclaimer about the potential for mistakes in all generated responses). In a profession where accuracy and detail are paramount, many lawyers have wrote off the use of AI in their practice.

However, unlike substantive legal research, if you are researching the answers to procedural questions, an AI like ChatGPT is actually highly reliable and useful. The way Practice Directions GPT works, is by first searching the web through Bing to find the relevant documents to your inquiry (as ChatGPT is no longer limited to a cut-off date of its knowledge base in 2021 like prior versions). Because it can actively look for the most current source documents for procedure, the risk of hallucinations by the chatbot is minimized. It will then analyze the documents it can finds and synthesize the contents in response to your inquiry into a series of actionable steps and requirements. Importantly, it will provide reference links to exactly where it found the answers it is providing you with so that you can verify their accuracy if required. And these conversations are saved on your ChatGPT account so that you can refer to them later for a refresher.

Currently, if you require an answer to a procedural issue, you would reference the relevant statute and regulations, the Practice Directions, and the Notice to the Profession, in your jurisdiction and area of law. These are found on government and court websites, and updated frequently. You can go directly to these source documents and through series of navigating, browsing and CTRL+F searches, find your answer. An other option would be to do a google search of your procedural inquiry and the relevant jurisdiction/area of law. Typically, the search results will be general links to the aforementioned government and court websites without much precision, and then a large number of content or blog posts by law firms that Google has indexed as relevant to your search. These posts often useful as summaries of a procedural issue but they lack detail.

GPT-4 is good at searching the web and synthesizing the results you are looking for, when the scope of its sources and knowledge is limited. A question of legal procedure is precisely a type of limited scope inquiry: geographically limited by your jurisdiction, subject matter limited by your case’s area of law, time limited to the most recent procedural rules as of your date of inquiry.