October 08, 2020 Feature

Artificial Intelligence and Legal Issues

The output of AI can be relevant to issues that arise in litigation, and, because of its limitations, its use can invite legal challenge.

Ronald Hedges, Gail Gottehrer, and Hon. James C. Francis IV

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We live and practice law in a time of rapid—and sometimes confusing—technological change. Adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) is one. AI is no stranger to the practice of law. Clients use it to make business decisions; judges use it to assist their determinations, and experts in both civil and criminal litigation use it for their analyses. The output of AI can be relevant to issues that arise in litigation, and, because of its limitations, its use can invite legal challenge. Employment discrimination and criminal sentencing provide two examples.

AI refers to the development of computer systems that can mimic human decision-making and perform tasks that generally require human intelligence. AI uses algorithms, which are sets of rules that a computer can execute. Data are input into the algorithm, which applies those instructions and produces an output. Some artificial intelligence systems include algorithms that learn from data and improve automatically.

Illustration by Robert Pizzo

Illustration by Robert Pizzo

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