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GPSolo eReport

GPSolo eReport May 2024

Ask Techie: How Do I Notify Clients about My Use of AI?

Ashley Hallene and Wells Howard Anderson

Summary

  • This month’s tech Q&A column answers your questions about how to notify clients about your use of AI and what are the best deadline reminder systems.
  • If you have embraced the artificial intelligence (AI) techno-evolution, you may want to consider an addendum to your standard engagement letter.
  • Using two independent reminder methods will help ensure that you meet your deadlines. In addition to your practice management system, consider using a paper method or a reminder app on your phone
Ask Techie: How Do I Notify Clients about My Use of AI?
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Welcome to the latest installment of our monthly Q&A column, where a panel of experts answers your questions about using technology in your law practice.

This month, we answer readers’ questions about how to use your engagement letter to notify clients about your use of AI and what are the best deadline reminder systems.

Q: How Do I Notify Clients about My Use of AI?

If you have embraced the artificial intelligence (AI) techno-evolution, you may want to consider an addendum to your standard engagement letter. Being up front about your use of AI helps build trust with clients. Clients appreciate transparency and are more likely to trust lawyers who disclose their tools and methods. This also provides informed consent. Clients have the right to know how their legal matters are being handled. By informing them about the use of AI, clients can make informed decisions about their representation. To achieve this, you may want to add something like the following:

In our ongoing effort to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our legal services, we may employ state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) tools. These tools assist us in various legal tasks, such as data analysis, legal research, document review, and other supportive functions. Please be assured that the use of AI is supervised by our experienced legal professionals and is conducted in strict adherence to all ethical obligations, including confidentiality and diligence. We believe that the thoughtful use of technology will serve to better meet your legal needs. If you have any questions or concerns about our use of AI technology, please do not hesitate to discuss them with us.

This paragraph informs the client about your use of AI and assures them of your professional oversight and ethical compliance. In addition to adding this to your initial engagement letter, you may want to add it to your newsletter or client update communications to make existing clients aware.

Techie: Ashley Hallene, JD, GPSolo eReport Editor-in-Chief ([email protected]).

Q: What Are the Best Deadline Reminder Systems?

I want to be doubly certain that I’m not missing something important while using my practice system. Any suggestions?

A: When asked what’s the most important function of practice management software for a solo attorney, ChatGPT responded:

Tracking deadlines is often considered the single most important function for a solo attorney. Missing deadlines can have severe consequences for a case, including legal penalties, loss of rights, or damage to client relationships. Thus, ensuring timely management of deadlines is critical for maintaining professionalism, meeting legal obligations, and providing effective representation.

Well, that’s all pretty obvious to any attorney, but it is still worth emphasizing. Like any other established system, your main deadline tracker is not perfect. A simple oversight or unanticipated glitch could lead to a missed deadline and all sorts of backpedaling, avoidable stress, extra work, and misfortune.

Or even if your technology doesn’t fail, what about human error, such as selecting the right day of the month but in the wrong year? What about a transposition of numbers or being interrupted before clicking Save? What if your paper calendar vanishes?

If you make a habit of entering this same vital information in two separate places, you are protected by the backup. Two independent methods are vital to ensure that you meet your deadlines.

Your practice management system probably shows you deadlines in multiple ways. They appear on your calendar, obviously. They may appear in a view of upcoming events, filtered for deadlines. And they may show up in the related records for each matter you are working on. Yet, all these places are still within a single, fallible system.

As your second, redundant deadline tracker, consider either a paper method or an independent reminder app on your phone. There is no one solution that is ideal for everyone. We vary so much in how our brains work. To guide your selection, consider the following simple question:

Which method is most likely to grab your attention?

Are you in the habit of dismissing—often without even thinking about it—things that ping and bong on your phone? Then, one of the to-do phone apps, such as Todoist, Any.do, or Apple Reminders, while excellent for many people, might not work for you. Perhaps a separate paper calendar devoted exclusively to deadlines would be better. You would need to make checking it part of your daily routine, but also avoid making it too conspicuous and annoying all day long.

If you consistently inspect all your incoming emails, you might consider using an appointment service that sends email reminders. You schedule each deadline as an appointment in your account. Two free services are Setmore and Appointlet. They can be set to send email reminders days before an event.

Your practice management system serves as your go-to place for all your deadlines. You might even have supercharged your deadline management with LawToolBox, the leading legal deadline service. Nevertheless, for safety’s sake, make sure you have a redundant method as well.

Techie: Wells H. Anderson, JD, GPSolo eReport Contributing Technology Editor and CEO of SecureMyFirm, can be reached at 952/922-1120 or through www.securemyfirm.com. Their focus is on protecting small firms from cyber threats with affordable, multiple layers of defense.

What’s YOUR question?

If you have a technology question, please forward it to Managing Editor Rob Salkin ([email protected]) at your earliest convenience. Our response team selects the questions for response and publication. Our regular response team includes Jeffrey Allen, Wells H. Anderson, Ashley Hallene, Al Harrison, and Matthew Murrell. We publish submitted questions anonymously, just in case you do not want someone else to know you asked the question.

Please send in your questions today!

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