Judge Slashes Cuddy Law Firm’s Fees After Questionable Use of AI in Billing


  • Judge slashes Cuddy Law Firm’s fees after AI billing doubts.
  • Judge Engelmayer questioned ChatGPT’s reliability.
  • The legal community urged us to be cautious with AI in billing.

In a recent legal ruling, federal district judge Paul Engelmayer has slashed the fees requested by the Cuddy Law Firm, following skepticism over the firm’s use of an AI tool in determining its billing for a special education case. The decision highlights growing concerns over the reliability and transparency of AI-generated content in legal proceedings.

Questionable billing practices

Judge Engelmayer expressed skepticism over the Cuddy Law Firm’s use of the AI tool ChatGPT to justify its billing for legal services rendered in a case against the New York City Department of Education. The firm submitted a final bill of $113,484, citing ChatGPT’s guidance in determining an hourly rate between $550 to $600 per hour for attorneys with up to three years of experience in special education hearings.

The judge criticized the firm’s reliance on ChatGPT, stating that its invocation as support for the fee bid was “utterly and unusually unpersuasive.” Engelmayer pointed out the lack of transparency regarding the data inputs used by ChatGPT to reach its conclusions, raising doubts about the validity of the information provided by the AI tool.

Engelmayer highlighted previous instances where ChatGPT had provided inaccurate or fabricated information in legal cases. In one instance, attorney Steven A. Schwartz cited fabricated court decisions in a personal injury lawsuit. In contrast, in another case, attorney Jae Lee referenced a non-existent legal precedent in a medical malpractice lawsuit. These examples underscore the challenges of using AI in legal research and decision-making.

Judge’s ruling

In light of the concerns raised regarding the Cuddy Law Firm’s billing practices, Judge Engelmayer slashed the requested lawyers’ fees by half, reducing the total amount to $53,050. He emphasized the need for greater caution and scrutiny when relying on AI-generated content in legal proceedings, stating, “Barring a paradigm shift in the reliability of this tool, the Cuddy Law Firm is well advised to excise references to ChatGPT from future fee applications.”

The ruling in the Cuddy case underscores the importance of transparency and accountability in legal billing practices, particularly concerning the use of AI technologies. While AI tools offer potential benefits in terms of efficiency and productivity, their use in legal research and decision-making must be approached with caution to avoid inaccuracies and ethical dilemmas.

The decision by Judge Engelmayer to slash the Cuddy Law Firm’s fees serves as a cautionary tale for legal practitioners regarding the use of AI in billing and research. As the legal profession continues to grapple with the integration of AI technologies, practitioners must exercise diligence and skepticism to ensure the integrity and reliability of their work.

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Benson Mawira

Benson is a blockchain reporter who has delved into industry news, on-chain analysis, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc.His area of expertise is the cryptocurrency markets, fundamental and technical analysis.With his insightful coverage of everything in Financial Technologies, Benson has garnered a global readership.

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