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Law Technology Today

2024

Roundtable: AI and Legal Ethics

Jim Calloway, Kenton Brice, Ivy B Grey, Jayne R Reardon, and Damien Riehl

Summary 

  • The Legal Technology Resource Center Roundtable for December 2023 is a discussion on lawyers and the ethical challenges of using artificial intelligence.
  • The discussion group used Zoom's AI companion to summarize their meeting and specifically left the errors generated by this AI tool. 
  • Read below and decide for yourself if you believe AI tools such as this would be valuable to the legal community. 
Roundtable: AI and Legal Ethics
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The Legal Technology Resource Center Roundtable for December 2023 featured a video discussion with Damien Riehl, Ivy B. Gray, Jayne Reardon, Kenton Brice and Jim Calloway (Moderator). The subject was Lawyers and the Ethical challenges of using Artificial Intelligence. But it was quite a wide-ranging discussion, covering many facets of the uses of AI by lawyers and law firms.

The following is an unedited Meeting Summary prepared by Zoom’s AI Companion. We have intentionally left the errors uncorrected. Even with minor AI mistakes, the reader can appreciate the flow of the discussion. Just imagine how valuable this would be if an important participant was prevented from attending the meeting at the last minute. Reviewing the summary would allow you to catch up on what was discussed and what actions were taken.

Bonus Content: If you would like even more information about using AI, panelist Ivy Grey has provided a link to her presentation, Navigating the Intersection of AI and Law: A Framework for Responsible Use and Regulation of AI, which was presented to the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA). htps://www.wordrake.com/ai-engagement- framework-webinar.

To view the video summarized by Zoom's AI tool, please visit LTRC's YouTube Channel

Meeting summary for Jim Calloway's Zoom Meeting Lawyers and AI Roundtable (12/18/2023)


Quick recap

The meeting revolved around the ethical considerations and benefits of using AI in the legal field. The panel, consisting of Damien, Ivy, Jayne, and Kenton, discussed the evolution and impact of AI in their profession, emphasizing its potential to remove entry barriers, simulate connections between words, and generate strategies. They also highlighted the importance of critical inquiry, evaluating thought processes, and transparency about AI's capabilities and limitations. The discussion concluded with Ivy sharing her personal experience of using AI tools to generate substantial output.

Summary

Technical Issues and Weather Discussion

Jayne and Jim discussed technical issues and the setup of a PowerPoint presentation. Jim mentioned that a meeting summary was being prepared. Other participants, including Kenton, Ivy, and Damien, joined the conversation. The discussion also touched upon their personal experiences and the unpredictable weather in the Chicago area. The meeting was set to proceed with a roundtable video slide and a Q&A session.

Ethical Challenges of AI in Lawyers Roundtable

Jim, the director of the OA, introduced a video roundtable on the ethical challenges of using AI in lawyers. The panel consisted of technology lawyer Damien, Ivy Gray, the chief strategy and growth officer for WordRake, jaynereardon, who provides ethics and regulatory advice, and Kenton, the director of the University of Oklahoma College of Law's Law Library. The discussion focused on the differences between new generative AI tools and previous ones. Ivy emphasized that these new tools remove entry barriers, making AI accessible to everyone, which could lead to ethical challenges if users lack good judgment about technology.

AI Evolution and Its Impact on Professions

Damien, jaynereardon, Ivy, and Kenton discussed the evolution of AI and its impact on their profession. Damien emphasized that AI's definition is evolving, with the current generative AI technology turning into the norm in the future. Ivy pointed out that the technology can simulate connections between words and their usage, but relying on logical connections is still necessary. Kenton highlighted the interactivity of AI, comparing it to video games. Damien also mentioned that the output of AI models is becoming indistinguishable from the output of lawyers. The conversation concluded with Ivy expressing skepticism about whether the AI is actually reasoning.

AI's Role in Legal Thought Processes

Ivy emphasized the importance of maintaining critical inquiry and questioning in the use of generative AI, particularly in the legal field. Damien agreed, but also highlighted the need to evaluate the thought process of associates. jaynereardon raised concerns about the potential for AI to mislead lawyers and stressed the importance of understanding the technology. Damien clarified the appropriate use of generative AI, stating it should be used as an ideation tool rather than just for information retrieval. Ivy concluded that while generative AI can be beneficial, it may not be as helpful for high performers who could come up with nuanced arguments independently.

AI in Legal Practice: Benefits and Limitations

Ivy, Kenton, Damien, and Jim discussed the use of technology, specifically AI, in the legal field. Ivy emphasized the importance of framing a case and applying judgment before using AI tools, while Kenton highlighted the need for transparency about the capabilities and limitations of these tools. Damien raised a question about what clients would pay for, noting that AI could generate many potential strategies quickly. Ivy shared their experience using AI tools, committing to using them for 2 hours a day and generating substantial output, some of which they don't review.

AI Ethics and Lawyering: A Discussion

The team discussed the ethical implications and benefits of using AI in lawyering. Ivy emphasized the importance of thorough lawyering and the ethical duty of advising clients, even with the availability of quick tools. Jim pointed out the need to move past initial skepticism of AI, citing an example of a sanctioned lawyer who used AI without proper review. Jayne agreed, attributing the reluctance to embrace new tools to a fear of the unknown and potential loss of billable hours. They suggested that this could lead to a reevaluation of the billable hour system as a measure of a lawyer's worth. The discussion revolved around the use of AI in lawyers' work and the ethical considerations surrounding it. Ivy, Kenton, and Damien discussed the importance of lawyers remaining open to opportunities and technological advancements, even if they initially seem risky or unethical. They stressed the importance of honesty and thoroughness in legal work and the duty to investigate the benefits of technology for their clients.

Efficiency and AI in Law Practice

Kenton, Ivy, Damien, Jim, and Jayne discussed the potential of using tools to increase efficiency in law practice. Kenton suggested that efficiency could lead to more ethical and effective advice, while Ivy argued it could improve trust with clients. Damien agreed but was unsure about how to proceed. Jim suggested written instructions for clients, and Kenton emphasized creating value for clients and appropriate monetization. The team also discussed the impact of AI on associates and lawyers, with Kenton expressing concerns and Jayne highlighting the benefits of AI. The discussion concluded with Damien agreeing with the points raised.

Integration of AI in Law Schools: Challenges and Opportunities

Kenton shared their insights on the integration of AI in law schools, highlighting the varying approaches and levels of adoption among different institutions. They mentioned their collaboration with Power Notes to incorporate AI into their tech and law practice course, stressing the importance of students learning to experiment with these tools in a safe environment. The team also discussed the importance of client privacy and confidentiality, with Kenton emphasizing the need to understand how companies monetize these systems and the potential implications for data privacy. Damien added that understanding the entire chain of data usage is crucial. Ivy pointed out that many generative AI tools have a human review policy, which they argued could potentially violate duty to protect client confidences.

AI's Future in Legal Industry: Potential, Limitations, and Regulations

The panel discussed the potential of generative AI in the legal industry. Kenton expressed optimism about the future, believing that AI tools will continue to improve. Damien emphasized that AI is an ideation tool, not a search tool, and its output improves with more input. Ivy stressed the importance of understanding the limitations of AI and developing frameworks to manage it. jaynereardon agreed with the panel's positive outlook on AI, but emphasized the need to consider the value to clients and the profession's obligation to provide public value. The panel agreed that the legal profession is at an inflection point and needs to re-examine regulations to fully utilize the potential of AI.

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