AI Under the Legal Lens As ABA Task Force Delves into the Future of Law

artificial intelligence, AI and the future of law

The ABA’s AI Task Force

The American Bar Association (ABA) is taking steps to address the growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) within the legal profession forming ABA task force, led by legal experts and supported by special advisers, to look into the multifaceted dimensions of AI’s effects on the legal world, encompassing both its potential benefits and ethical concerns.

The ABA’s task force is charged with a multifaceted mission: to examine the far-reaching implications of AI in the legal sphere and to weigh its ethical ramifications for lawyers.

One of its primary objectives is to scrutinize the various risks associated with AI technology, seen by some as the onset of the robot lawyer.

These risks include the dissemination of disinformation, the persistence of bias, and the looming concerns regarding data privacy. The task force will examine the potential advantages of AI, such as enhancing access to justice and facilitating legal education.

To ensure comprehensive coverage, the task force will also explore emerging issues related to generative AI and AI governance.

Leadership and Expertise

At the helm of this crucial endeavor is Lucy Thomson, a distinguished legal professional with a wealth of experience in both technology and law.

Thomson’s background includes serving as the chair of the ABA science and technology law section and being a founding member of the ABA cybersecurity legal task force.

She will be ably supported by vice chairs, including Cynthia Cwik, Laura Possessky, and James Sandman, who bring their legal expertise to the table.

Special Advisers and Their Role

The task force’s reach extends even further with a roster of special advisers, including luminaries like Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, and Ivan Fong, former US Department of Homeland Security General Counsel.

They will assist in the high powered investigation into the effects of AI within and outside the legal profession.

AI’s Potential Benefits in Law

Much has been made of the fact that AI has the capacity to significantly boost attorney productivity and minimize costly errors. Most commentators say that AI can never replace the human lawyer, but it will certainly change the way the law operates.

Lawyers can harness AI, particularly Machine Learning (ML), to expedite contract reviews, consistently identify issues, assist in legal training and pinpoint errors that might otherwise elude human legal professionals. It can streamline the legal process, speeding up research and decision-making.

But there remain inherent challenges, such as the risk of embedded bias in the data that fuels AI systems as well as the lack of transparent explainability behind AI-driven decisions poses obstacles in certain legal contexts.

The ABA task force represents a proactive response to the rapid advancement of AI technology.

By exploring both the promises and perils of AI in the legal profession, the ABA is better able to provide valuable insights and guidance to lawyers navigating this complex technological landscape lying ahead.

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