By Kirsten K. Davis*

Generative artificial intelligence likely represents a paradigm shift in legal communication teaching, learning, and practice. What we know (so far) about generative AI suggests that law school legal writing courses will need to teach generative AI skills to be used as part of a hybrid human-generative AI legal writing process. Accordingly, legal writing faculty will need to understand how generative AI works, its implications for legal writing practices, and how to teach legal writers the knowledge and skills needed to use generative AI ethically and effectively in their work.

As a community of scholars, legal writing faculty should lead the inquiry into the connections between generative AI and legal writing products, processes, and practices. This is an exciting time; there are many unanswered questions to explore about the relationships between human writers and machine writing tools.

Unlike other essays in the Unending Conversation collection, this essay does not join a conversation. Instead, it is a conversation starter; it is meant to “open the parlor door” and encourage legal writing scholars to research at the intersection of generative AI and legal writing. As legal communication experts, legal writing faculty are well-situated to be frequent and expert speakers in this conversation.

This essay explains why generative AI represents the beginning of a paradigm shift in legal writing that requires scholarly exploration and presents some ideas for the “big issues” that will need investigation.