🥊 Elon Musk vs Open AI


In today’s email:

  • Bitcoin hits an all-time high

  • How to ignore your boss, legally

  • A&O Shearman is ditching its UK roots

  • London IPOs are becoming more popular

  • Can you paint the Mona Lisa better than me?

  • If you’re a Bar, LPC or SQE graduate, make some money (scroll to the bottom)

… and more!

If you take just one thing from this email…

Elon Musk has sued OpenAI due to its move away from its original mission of being non-profit and humanity-first. He claims it’s now a profit-driven entity with close ties to Microsoft. OpenAI argues it needs to make profit to conduct AI research — which is expensive. Some people think Elon wants OpenAI’s tech to stay open-source and free because he’s launching his own for-profit AI company called X.ai.


Last week, we discussed the Swiss Verein law firm model.

And I received this feedback from a reader (which I loved) 👇️ 

I thought it was a great idea — and something that probably should have been included last week.

So, here’s a comparison table showing the most common international strategies for law firms 👇️

Screenshot this if you think it’ll be helpful for your future applications

I get excited when I receive feedback from you on ways we can make commercial law clearer.

If you have some ideas about what you want to learn or feedback for the newsletter, just reply to this email.

👆️ You’ve just seen I actually act on your suggestions (plus, I love hearing from you!).

In last week’s newsletter, I asked if you thought using AI technology like ChatGPT should be allowed in law firm applications.

We got over 300 votes — which is a record for this newsletter!

And here are some of the thing you had to say (we got LOADS of written answers, so I’ve cut down to my favourites):

No — not at all:

  • “Discourages genuine reflection on why you want to do law, and consequently means that applicants do not have an understanding of how law firms and chambers actually operate.”

  • “The purpose of these applications is for the firm to gauge an individual's suitability to working at the firm. Use of AI such as ChatGPT [means] the applications are no longer a genuine demonstration of the applicant's work.”

  • “We have a moral and ethical standard to consider. We know that AI is a legal grey area, therefore to use it is blatant hypocrisy and indicates a moral erosion. Also, most of AI is rubbish ”

✅ Yes — partially:

  • “For those who don’t have access to mentors and information from people already in the field, AI could be their helping hand!”

  • “Since law firms use AI for some parts of their work, surely it should be okay for use partially…”

  • “There are going to be applications from people with high functioning autism or ADHD, and allowing partial use of AI for basic stuff, will be of use to them…”

  • “It's inevitable that people will use ChatGPT and similar tools, and it would be stupid not to keep up with technology and maximise efficiency when you can. But there's a difference between using ChatGPT as-is and taking it as a foundation and then putting in the work to create something better - and that difference is always visible.”

✅ Yes — completely:

  • “Use of ChatGPT will become common place for so many tasks. With firms focusing on being innovative and forward-thinking, it seems odd to force people to use outdated methods. Comparisons could be drawn to using the internet and word processing decades ago.”

- Idin

📆 Event: Let’s talk about money: Wealthbrite (an awesome organisation founded by a former lawyer) are running a session for lawyers + aspiring lawyers all about money. They’ll be unpacking strategies that you can use to manage money, grow wealth and reduce financial stress.

If you want to manage your finances better, this is for you! Sign up for free here.

(p.s. this isn’t sponsored — I’m just a fan of Wealthbrite and have been to their events in the past!)

🥊 Elon Musk vs Open AI

What's going on here?

Last week, Elon Musk filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and its co-founders. He alleged that the ChatGPT-maker broke its founding agreement to pursue AI research for the good of humanity instead of profit.

What’s the history?

  • 📆 2015: OpenAI was founded (with Elon Musk and Sam Altman as the first two board members). It was agreed that it would be a non-profit company, “for the benefit of humanity”.

  • 📆 2016 — 2020: Musk invested ~$44m into OpenAI.

  • 📆 2018: Musk eventually left OpenAI when he felt the company was straying from its original goals.

  • 📆 2024: Musk sues OpenAI.

On what grounds is Musk suing OpenAI?

Elon Musk claims that OpenAI received funding while saying it’s a non-profit. But turns out, he claims, it’s a “closed-source, de facto subsidiary” of Microsoft — Microsoft recently invested $13bn into the company.

👆️ An email chain between Sam Altman and Elon Musk outlining how OpenAI should operate — read the section in the grey box!

Musk used this analogy: It’s like a non-profit that was funded to save the rainforest that turns into a lumber company that makes tonnes of money selling the trees it chopped.

From this lawsuit, Elon’s looking for a ruling that advanced models can’t be exclusively controlled by corporations. He also wants OpenAI to only create open-source AI that aids humankind.

Some critics argue Musk’s actions may be aimed at giving X.ai — his own AI venture — a leg-up in the industry.

How has OpenAI responded?

OpenAI has claimed that Musk was in favour of them creating a for-profit unit.

In a public blog post released yesterday, the company highlighted the reasons it needed to change its strategy.

These were:

  1. 💸 AI research is expensive (more so than expected)

  2. 🤑 A for-profit entity was needed to help fund the research

  3. 💗 The company still adheres to its original mission by building tools that are widely-available and beneficial (like the free version of ChatGPT)

Check out the post if you’re interested (you get to see more emails from Elon too!)

What are the lawyers saying?

Legal experts say Musk’s lawsuit faces an uphill battle in court.

  • 🗣️ Samuel Brunson, an expert on non-profit law at the Loyola University Chicago says: "Frankly, I don't see a pathway for this suit to win.” The complaint "claims that OpenAI can't license AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) to Microsoft, but it also acknowledges that the license lets the board of OpenAI determine whether something constitutes AGI.” — so basically, the OpenAI’s founding agreement allows OpenAI itself decide whether its technology is advanced enough to give up profit in the best interests of humanity.

  • 🗣️ Ann Lipton, a business law professor at Tulane University business law professor says there’s nothing to stop the non-profit company from forming for-profit subsidiaries. "The issue is that the nonprofit company can't distribute its profits to equity holders."


The daily global news briefing you can trust.

Our friends at Semafor deliver the biggest news stories from around the world into a comprehensive, stylish newsletter.

Expect talent-first reporting, rich insights, and global perspectives in your inbox, daily.

* This is sponsored content


🤷 How to legally ignore your boss


  • 🤝 A&O Shearman is not including any London-based partners in its top leadership. This lineup has made the firm's future direction and core identity unclear — it’s potentially signalling a shift from its UK roots towards a more global stance, aiming to mix it up with the world's legal elite.

  • 🛍️ Shein, the fast fashion retailer, is skipping New York for a potential London IPO. It’s looking for a more welcoming market in which to list as US regulations are making it tougher for companies with Chinese ties. This move hints at a shift, possibly making UK listings more attractive as US market hurdles, especially for firms with Chinese ties, grow steeper — commercial law firms in the UK would love that!

  • 🚀 Bitcoin just hit a new peak, soaring past $69,000 (£54,000), then settling around $62,000 (£48,600). It shows a strong bounce back after the FTX crash. The reason for the crypto craze is because regulators have been giving the green-light to bitcoin ETFs — it’s allowed giants like Fidelity and BlackRock to invest. Even memecoins and NFTs are making a comeback. Plus, amidst crypto buzz, gold prices reached record highs!

  • 🏦 Monzo, the tech-first bank, has secured $430m (£337m) in funding, catapulting its valuation to $5bn (£3.9bn). It’s eyeing expansion into the US, Germany, and France. This standout move, especially in a time when other startups are seeing valuations shrink, signals a potentially revitalising trend in European venture capital, particularly for fintech. Despite high interest rates and low investor confidence, Monzo keeps shining!


* This is sponsored content


  • 📹️ Free application help: If you're applying to commercial law firms, check out my YouTube channel for actionable tips and an insight into the lifestyle of a commercial lawyer in London.

How did you find today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.