updated on 17 November 2023
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The winners of the 2023 National Accident Helpline’s Future Legal Mind competition have been revealed, with Emily Eastburn-Pentreath taking the title for the postgraduate category and Stephanie Anais becoming the latest undergraduate winner.
This year’s competition saw law students exploring the role of AI in the legal system and grappling with the question, “To what extent do you believe AI could ever replace the role of human judges. And what would be the benefits or potential drawbacks of integrating AI in this way?”
In her winning essay, Eastburn-Pentreath (a Birkbeck, University of London postgraduate) creatively engaged ChatGPT-3.5, with the AI less than convinced in its own ability to replace human judges, highlighting the technology’s lack of “consciousness, awareness or personal confidence”. Plus, Eastburn-Pentreath pointed out that AI has the same mindset as humans and so the technology itself also urges individuals to use it with caution.
This year’s undergraduate winner, Anais, is also studying at Birkbeck, University of London and in her winning essay argued that “AI judges will in fact not improve access to justice as the organisations behind AI technologies cannot be trusted to police themselves, as well as the inevitable backlog created by mass appeals to a human judge which brings in to question any potential efficiency savings”.
As winners, Eastburn-Pentreath and Anais will receive an exclusive mentoring session with one of National Accident Helpline’s experienced in-house lawyers and £1,500.
The annual competition is open to law graduates at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and involves submitting a 1,200-word essay on a chosen topic, with the chance to win a cash prize, mentoring session and be crowned the Future Legal Mind.
John Kushnick, legal operations director at National Accident Helpline, says: "The Future Legal Mind Competition offers aspiring lawyers a unique opportunity to voice their opinions on the pressing issues within the legal world. At a time when AI dominates headlines, this is a fast-moving area of law that is already impacting every part of society.
“We encouraged students to look beyond those headlines and consider the real and tangible benefits AI could bring the legal sector, with winning entries demonstrating a deep understanding of the challenges facing the legal sector today and the realistic solutions."
For more information about Future Legal Mind and the National Accident Helpline, please visit the National Accident Helpline website.