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Law Technology Today


How Will AI Affect Your Clients’ Cases?

David Notowitz


  • AI voice clones and fake videos and images are easy to fake. Clients and attorneys could easily be duped.
  • Attorneys need to research AI so they can help their clients more effectively.
How Will AI Affect Your Clients’ Cases?

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A 9-11 call was posted on social media. In it, a man is frantic, saying erratic things that sounded like he was unwell.

The man with that voice is now my client, and he claims that the call was fake. He says it was a product of an AI voice clone that a competitor made of him, with the goal of causing harm to his reputation and business. He asked if I could clone his voice and create a similar call to show how easy it would be to create fake audio recordings.

I was able to do this quickly, using tools readily available. In just a few days, using some phone conversations I recorded with this client, I used AI voice cloning technology to create a custom phone conversation between two people that never actually occurred. I handed over my creation to him and his attorney so they could release it to his clients and begin repairing his reputation.

While this story is alarming, the reality is that attorneys need to be prepared to deal with these kinds of cases. AI technology has huge implications for the legal field. This easy-to-use, simple-to-access technology is available to everyone with an internet connection. Although AI technologies are great for business efficiency and entertainment, unfortunately, it will also be used to harm people and businesses.

Anyone can make a fake voice clone and post it online in mere minutes, ultimately damaging someone’s reputation beyond belief, just like what happened with my client. They could also create a fake photo or video and do the same.

What you see and hear is not necessarily the truth anymore.

So, what can attorneys and other legal professionals do to protect themselves and their clients? How can we combat this when it’s difficult to tell the difference between real and fake content? How are attorneys supposed to handle this when they aren’t experts in AI technology?

It’s critical for attorneys to team up with experts who know AI and can distinguish between what’s real and what's fake.  

For instance, when it comes to voice cloning, there are still some tells that something isn’t real. If the person is screaming, that may have been done on purpose because it’s a great way to deceive the listener, whether that listener is a close friend, a family member, or a forensic expert. When a voice is intensely emotional, such as angry, threatening, or yelling, it’s much easier to hide whether or not it’s really them.

If the “person” pronounces something strange or different from how the original person would speak, that’s usually a telltale sign it’s a voice clone. Unnatural pauses are good indicators of a clone as well. The best first stop for an attorney would be the family to see if they can identify anything different in the speech style used in the recording compared to the voice of their loved one. And then, if necessary, approach a voice expert.

If there is a video of a person, you can look at the visuals to explore if it’s AI in a few ways. Usually, only the head and shoulders will be shown since it’s still difficult with the current technology to imitate limbs – they typically look distorted. Unnatural lip, eye, and hair movements are giveaways, too.

AI images will have similar distortion issues as videos. Right now, AI images look glossy and a little cartoonish – though, with how fast technology is advancing, that could soon change. Doing a reverse image search can be helpful to see if an image is real but has been used out of context.

Attorneys should stay on top of AI news and be aware of all the possible ways it can be used in a case. The more informed attorneys are, the more they can help their clients prove their side.

Having AI experts to call on and do voice cloning, analyze videos, or look at pictures and determine their validity is crucial as well.

More and more, an excellent chain of evidence will do a great deal to prove the authenticity of a recording. If you can bring an unbiased expert to directly download video from the surveillance system or copy audio or video from the phone that recorded it, you’ll have a greater chance of convincing a judge to accept it in court.

We live in fast-changing times, when the legal field rarely keeps up with technology. It’s our job to know about the advancements in AI and other technology so that we can better serve our clients, ensure they are protected and help them prove – and win – their cases.