In the traditional and rigorous field of law education, a technological wave is making its presence felt. More than half of the UK’s university students are now using artificial intelligence (AI) tools in their academic pursuits, with law students being a significant part of this trend. This shift, as highlighted by a Higher Education Policy Institute survey, signals a transformation in how future lawyers are trained.

AI tools like Google Bard and ChatGPT are being used extensively for legal research and case analysis. These tools provide law students with quick access to a vast database of legal precedents and literature, facilitating a more efficient research process. However, the reliance on AI for legal assignments raises crucial questions about the development of critical thinking and analytical skills, which are essential in legal education.

The increasing use of AI in law education, particularly by students for assignments, raises concerns that may overshadow its benefits. One significant issue is the potential erosion of critical thinking and analytical skills. Law students, traditionally trained to meticulously dissect cases and craft arguments, might become overly reliant on AI for research and writing. This reliance could diminish their ability to engage deeply with legal texts and think independently, a crucial skill for lawyers who often face complex, unprecedented legal scenarios. Furthermore, the use of AI-generated content might blur the lines of academic integrity, potentially leading to a lack of originality and ethical complications in future legal practice.

The role of AI in assisting law educators is also evolving. While AI can aid in creating course materials and offering personalized student feedback, there’s an ongoing debate about its impact on the traditional methods of legal teaching. It presents an opportunity for law educators to integrate technology into their pedagogy, enhancing the learning experience while maintaining the rigour of legal education.

In response to the growing use of AI in student assignments, innovative tools are being developed to assist educators in detecting AI-generated content. Educators now have access to sophisticated tools designed to detect AI-generated content in student assignments, addressing concerns about academic integrity in the age of AI-assisted writing. Two notable examples of these tools are Scribbr’s AI Detector and Turnitin’s AI Writing Detection feature.

Scribbr’s AI Detector is a user-friendly tool that can confidently identify texts generated by popular AI tools like ChatGPT, Bard, and Bing Chat. It supports the detection of content from GPT-2, GPT-3, GPT-3.5, and even GPT-4, albeit on an experimental basis. This tool is particularly useful for educators and students to ensure the authenticity of academic work and adherence to university guidelines. It offers unlimited free AI content checks without requiring a sign-up, thus promoting a culture of honesty and originality in academic writing.

On the other hand, Turnitin, known for its plagiarism detection capabilities, has expanded its services to include AI writing detection. This feature is integrated into Turnitin’s Similarity Report, making it a seamless addition to existing workflows. Turnitin’s model is trained to detect content from AI language models such as GPT-3, GPT-3.5, and GPT-4, by analyzing word probability sequences and other writing characteristics. The tool focuses on long-form English text and is designed to maintain a low false positive rate, ensuring accuracy in its detections.

The increasing use of AI in law education is not just a trend but a precursor to the future legal landscape. Law schools must prepare students for a world where AI tools are an integral part of the legal profession. This preparation involves not only teaching the use of these tools but also instilling an understanding of their ethical implications and limitations. The integration of AI in UK law education is a testament to the evolving nature of legal studies. Balancing the benefits of AI with the foundational elements of legal education is essential for training competent, ethical, and technologically adept lawyers.