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September 04, 2023 Top Legal News of the Week

Artificial Intelligence task force explores legal impact

The American Bar Association on Aug. 28 announced the creation of the ABA Task Force on Law and Artificial Intelligence to examine the impact of AI on law practice and the ethical implications for lawyers.

The new ABA Task Force on Law and Artificial Intelligence will look at how AI can increase access to justice and develop legal technology resources.

The new ABA Task Force on Law and Artificial Intelligence will look at how AI can increase access to justice and develop legal technology resources.

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The AI Task Force will explore:

  • Risks (bias, cybersecurity, privacy and uses of AI such as spreading disinformation and undermining intellectual property protections) and how to mitigate them
  • Emergent issues with generative AI capable of generating text, images and other media
  • Utilization of AI to increase access to justice
  • AI governance (the role of laws and regulations, industry standards and best practices)
  • AI in legal education

“The American Bar Association and the legal profession have always lifted their voices to lead and chart the future,” ABA President Mary Smith said. “At a time when both private and public sector organizations are moving rapidly to develop and use artificial intelligence, we are called again to lead to address both the promise and the peril of emerging technologies.”

AI systems and capabilities will transform virtually every industry sector, including legal practice, and reallocate the tasks performed by humans and machines. The recent introduction and widespread use of ChatGPT-4 and other generative AI systems has already highlighted a broad range of issues that lawyers must address.

The AI Task Force is chaired by Lucy L. Thomson, an attorney and cybersecurity engineer in Washington, D.C. Thomson is a past chair of the ABA Science & Technology Law Section (SciTech) and a founding member of the ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force.  Cynthia Cwik, Laura Possessky and James Sandman are vice chairs .

Made up of lawyers and experts with deep technology and AI expertise, the task force includes members, an advisory council and special advisors. .

The special advisors are thought leaders in law and technology and include:

  • Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and co-founder and executive chairman of The Chertoff Group
  • Daniel Ho, member of the National AI Advisory Committee and William Benjamin Scott and Luna M. Scott Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and associate director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence
  • Michelle Lee, former undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property and director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and CEO and founder of Obsidian Strategies
  • Miriam Vogel, chair of the National AI Advisory Committee and president and CEO of EqualAI
  • Seth Waxman, former U.S. solicitor general and partner, WilmerHale

“The work of the ABA AI Task Force is critical to identifying solutions to AI risks – from countering the creation and spread of disinformation, to protecting privacy in AI development, to guarding against security threats from use of AI in informational warfare,” said Chertoff.

The task force will identify important work and reports by government agencies, universities, think-tanks and industry leaders, and inform lawyers about how AI can affect a lawyer’s ethical responsibilities, pose threats to confidential client data and risk inadvertent waiver of attorney-client and attorney work product privileges. It also will look at how AI can increase access to justice and develop resources to make this technology understandable to lawyers and judges.

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