Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Learn the Law for the Bar Exam

A bar taker asked me to explain supplemental jurisdiction with an example. At 1:27 in the morning.

I was able to send a response at 1:36 AM (9 minutes later)—without having a working knowledge of supplemental jurisdiction, and without flipping through outlines or Googling hypos.

How? I’ll show you below. (With examples using supplemental jurisdiction and rule against perpetuities.)

The problem: When someone asks me about some law, I have to research it and explain it.

Or if you’re confused about how a rule works, you have to make sense of it theoretically and look at examples and hypos. How are you going to memorize (and use) the rule without understanding it?

This takes time. And I didn’t have the energy this late at night. Plus, I’m not a tutor and it’s not my role to do this (but I have a soft spot for people struggling with this death ritual).

Here’s an idea you can try for yourself if you’re stuck and not understanding a bar exam rule:

Ask ChatGPT to explain the rule.

If you don’t know what ChatGPT is, it’s a trained language model that interacts with you in a conversational way. It’s all the rage right now.

If she was going to treat me like some kind of robot, then I was going to do the same…

I copied and pasted her question into ChatGPT verbatim. Here’s the answer that ChatGPT generated about supplemental jurisdiction:

Using AI (ChatGPT) to explain a rule with an example
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Text version

Supplemental jurisdiction is a concept in federal court that allows a court to hear additional claims in a case that are related to the main claim, but do not necessarily fall within the court’s original jurisdiction. In general, a federal court will only hear a case based on supplemental jurisdiction if the main claim falls within the court’s original jurisdiction. If the main claim does not fall within the court’s original jurisdiction, the court will not have the authority to hear the case and will not be able to consider any additional claims under supplemental jurisdiction.

For example, suppose that a plaintiff is trying to avoid complete diversity in a case, which is a requirement for a federal court to hear a case based on diversity jurisdiction. In this situation, the plaintiff may try to bring additional claims under supplemental jurisdiction in order to keep the case in federal court. However, if the main claim does not fall within the court’s original jurisdiction, the court will not be able to hear the case and the plaintiff will not be able to avoid complete diversity.

What do you think?

Way better than something I could have come up with by doing manual Google searches for supplemental jurisdiction hypos and rule statements (and cross-referencing with Magicsheets).

Best of all, it saved me time and patience! It started a conversation that ended in understanding.

Obviously, review for any flags before accepting the answer as gospel. Also, form a good question. Like with many things, the quality of the output depends on the quality of the input. And be nice to the robot. Think of it as asking an assistant for a draft.

I used the generated answer to refresh myself and send her a revised version of the second paragraph.

(Because it would be overwhelming to dump the whole thing on her…which is rich coming from someone who sends 1,000+ word coaching emails, MBE practice questions, and case studies every week)

But this is a QUICK way to leverage AI to explain a rule and even get an example as a good starting point.

Here’s another example of using ChatGPT to explain the infamous rule against perpetuities (RAP):

If you’re stuck on a concept, try it out:

You’ll need an account, but it’s free.

What do you think about the answer you got?

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