chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
June 03, 2024 Top Legal News of the Week

DHS legal chief: AI no substitute for lawyers

Artificial intelligence can be a valuable tool in legal work, but it is no substitute for an attorney who does the legal thinking, said Jonathan Meyer, general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security, at a May 29 luncheon sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

Jonathan Meyer, general counsel for the U.S. Department of the Homeland Security

Jonathan Meyer, general counsel for the U.S. Department of the Homeland Security

Department of Homeland Security photo

“There’s no question it can be an extremely valuable tool,” Meyer said. “There’s also no question that it can be a very dangerous crutch,” pointing to stories of lawyers who have submitted briefs that cite false cases.

Meyer also talked about safeguarding the upcoming presidential election. “That is something that the department is spending a ton of time on” in far-reaching ways, he said, including hardening voting systems against cyberattacks and guarding against threats of foreign actors trying to influence the election through the use of misinformation, sometimes powered by AI or other means. 

“There is a lot going on. We are constantly on the lookout,” Meyer said. “Eight to 12 years ago I think that the issue caught a lot of people by surprise. That is certainly not going to happen this time around. We are very focused on it with the upcoming election, and we are doing everything that we can within our authority to make sure that the election will be safe, secure and, most importantly, trustworthy.”

Meyer offered this advice for young lawyers thinking about a legal career in government: Have goals but be flexible. “The great thing about being an attorney in Washington is the ability … to go back and forth between the private sector and the government. You should take full advantage of that opportunity, which is a wonderful way to have a career, and you should be open to unexpected opportunities.”

Related links: