A Blog Was Born (Or A Blog Arises from the Ashes of Forsaken Blogs)

Welcome to the inaugural post of AI Law Librarians! This blog aims to delve into the intersections of generative AI, law librarianship, legal research, legal technology, legal education, teaching legal research, and perhaps other TBD topics.

The origin story of this blog is a tale as old as time – good intentions smacked up against reality and inertia. Excited about our new chatty chatbot friends that began proliferating at the end of 2022, all of us (Sarah and Sean individually, and Jenny, Becka, and Rebecca collectively) thought to ourselves, “Self (“selves” in the case of the trio), I/we should start a blog about generative AI from the law librarian perspective! The initial enthusiasm was real – we each jumped on creating sites or/and snapping up domain names. However, we each soon realized it would be a lot of work, and our initial efforts never really took flight, in fact, the fledgling fell out of the nest into a caldera of molten lava – until now!


My own little slice of the story is that, after several years as a RIPS Law Librarian Blog contributor, I was suddenly out of things to say, so I resigned in 2021. However, when ChatGPT-3.5 hit the scene at the end of 2022, I was so taken with the new technology that I started to have, like…thoughts again and began to barrage the editor with unsolicited ChatGPT guest posts.

Finally, after years of anticipation harking back to the days of The Flintstones, my robot companion had finally arrived—or at least a version of it. And as the excitement/apprehension in the media grew, it became evident that interest in generative AI was going to survive beyond the usual hype cycle. This new technology wasn’t merely a chatbot for amusement, it was poised to remake (erm… or destroy) the world as we know it and revolutionize everything, including law practice and education. Suspecting that the RIPS Law Librarian Blog editor was tiring of my unsolicited musings, I considered starting my own blog and even went as far as creating a WordPress site, only to quickly abandon the idea after deciding it would be too much work.

I will leave Sean his own slice of the origin story, but we had previously discussed the lack of outlets for law librarian blog posts about ChatGPT et al. After reading a particularly informative guest blog post by him on the RIPS-SIS blog entitled The Case for LLM Optimism, I emailed to throw out the idea of starting our own blog. To my mild surprise, he readily agreed (sun devils and wildcats unite!), and we searched our minds for a domain name and some like-minded folks to join us on this unprofitable adventure, and shortly thereafter, AI Law Librarians was born.


In my journey to the blog, I recently penned a couple of articles I posted on SSRN about fine-tuning LLMs for legal practice and the innovative use of chatbots by law students, and a couple of blog posts which had no obvious home in law library publications. Like Sarah, I didn’t want to swamp the RIPS-SIS blog editor with guest posts, and I had the idea of starting my old blog. As I was planning to escape the Arizona desert for a new job as the Director of Technology Innovation in Oklahoma, Sarah emailed me and suggested we start our own blog, and I was like, “Let’s get on Zoom today!” The brainstorming for domain names was brief—Sarah had a few ideas, and then “ailawlibrarians.com” popped into our minds. We pondered who to ask to join our endeavor for a few days before deciding on Rebecca, who had seemed interested in AI at the LIT-SIS roundtable in Boston.


I have been scrambling since November 2022 to understand this new technology and how it will affect legal research and writing. Several months ago, I connected with Jenny and Becka, and we have presented several times over the summer (together and separately) on AI and the law, mostly to faculty and attorneys. Then Sarah and Sean approached me just as the summer was coming to a conclusion and I realized that despite wanted to write on these topics these summer, I hadn’t actually *published* anything. I had a few blog posts in the hopper, so it was perfect timing. I shared with them that a couple of librarian colleagues, Jenny and Becka, and I had begun our own blog venture with the name chatgptandfriends.com, which was currently stalled after a “Hello World” WordPress post. But then, an idea emerged – why don’t the five of us combine efforts?  Sarah and Sean were excited by the prospect of getting three people by asking just one, and Jenny and Becka agreed. 


I had taught AI and the Law twice when generative AI became something that everyone knew and was worried about. The more I read about generative AI, the more concerned I became – not because I was worried about academic misconduct or cheating, but because I was worried that law faculty and law librarians would swing the teaching pendulum so far back in the other direction that it would harm some of our most vulnerable students. There were legal issues, ethics issues, pedagogy issues, and places where AI intersected with the other courses I teach: Education Law and Disability Law. Jenny and I talked about how to get the word about the learning positive and negative uses of AI out there and then Jenny brought in Rebecca. The three of us have been talking for months and I’ve also been talking with my university’s committee on generative AI and the law school’s. When Rebecca heard from Sarah, it made sense for all of us to get together.


As Becka noted, I like generative AI.  My origin story is not nearly as exciting as some…”I teach law practice technology, so I better check this thing out…well, this is going to cause a fuss when people don’t realize it hallucinates!”

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