Harnessing Productivity in the AI/ChatGPT Era : Key Limitations and Considerations

Written by: Linus Choo

ChatGPT is really beginning to grow on me. Gimmicks aside, I find myself dipping into its efficiencies more and more every day. No, this post wasn't written by AI.

While I’m not an “overnight expert”, what I am learning is that it can be a tremendous time-saver and productivity booster, but only if we know how to use it effectively.

As I focus on legal recruitment, I would like to do a little commentary on harnessing productivity in the AI era for legal professionals. Casting aside the chatter and hype, it is important to know ChatGPT’s key limitations, and its data privacy and IP ownership issues.

We can start with some of ChatGPT’s key limitations. A few major ones are:

  1. In my opinion, the chatbot’s responses may not be accurate as they depend on the quality of the underlying data (plus it lacks data from after 2021).

  2. Lacks awareness in context.

  3. Lack of citations so you cannot easily verify facts/statements. The algorithm may go rogue too. The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) comes to mind.

  4. The responses may not be grammatically correct. Neither does it hit the right or the desired tone and personality, which in turn limits coherence.

  5. It lacks moral and ethical judgment, creativity, imagination and innovation.

Some other important limitations specific to the legal profession:

As lawyers, much of the information they deal with is confidential. They cannot and more importantly, must not enter the client’s or employer’s confidential information into ChatGPT, or they might breach professional duties. Further, it is yet to be established who owns the intellectual property (IP) in ChatGPT or any other AI-generated content. Using content as is in your work product, is a slippery slope as this may cause IP ownership issues for you and your client.

We can still have a taste of AI-fuelled productivity. While ChatGPT cannot yet automate large swaths of precedence templates, we should be able to use it for some basic tasks today.

  • As a starting point for your legal research. This works best if you use ChatGPT for source material alongside LexisNexis, which you can then research in more detail. To achieve a more comprehensive response, include as many keywords as possible. For example, “What Singapore laws and regulations apply to the Sanction of Russian entities”. The response generated was narrow and omitted the MAS regulations. However, there were notable caveats in ChatGPT’s response.

  • Enhance productivity with a starting point framework for your first draft. Lawyers in-house or in private practice may struggle to get started on the first draft amidst meeting multiple deadlines. Such AI tools are useful for drafting ideas, especially when dealing with obscure contract scenarios. ChatGPT may help get one's “brain juices” flowing. The responses are typically not comprehensive and legalistic but they may be functional and written in plain English. The rule of thumb then would be to copy selectively and amend, and not lift wholesale.

  • Instructional emails for business support for legal secretaries/paralegals. This can save counsels time on internal communications. ChatGPT may not be able to prioritise tasks so counsels will still have to manage the sequence of holding emails to stakeholders. As tested, the output is at a decent level but would still require extensive customisation.

In conclusion, ChatGPT may save us some hours a week if we learn how to use it effectively. However, given confidentiality limitations and the nature of lawyers’ work (which relies heavily on context, accuracy and high-value judgment), it is most helpful as an idea primer and a starting point. I feel that more industry-specific AI Chatbots and a “LegalBot” are not far off from the market.​

Meet Linus:

Linus leads the legal and governance practice at Ethos BeathChapman, focusing on legal & compliance and company secretarial placements. He has successfully conducted search for and placed many senior-level in-house legal positions up to C-level across all sectors throughout APAC with reputable MNCs and conglomerates.

His years of in-house legal recruitment have enabled him to develop strong functional knowledge of the discipline and a broad network of contacts and referrals within the legal sphere.

Connect with him at or on LinkedIn.