Umberg/Zipser’s Garner Comments on Ethical Concerns Raised by Artificial Intelligence

U/Z’s Scott Garner spoke on a panel at the recent Legal Malpractice and Risk Management Conference in Chicago on the subject of ethical questions raised in the use of artificial intelligence in the legal industry.  The panel was the subject of an article in Law360, “Artificial Intelligence Raises Ethical Concerns for Attorneys.”

As part of his presentation, Scott addressed ethical issues related to software that purports to do more than just fill out a form.  “If they’re telling you, ‘Here are the bankruptcy loopholes that may be applicable to you,’ that’s more likely to be the practice of law.  If on the other hand the form that is generated is essentially just a verbatim recitation of what the consumer puts in, that is much more likely to be found not to be the practice of law.”

Scott also discussed how ABA Model Rule 1.1 imposes a duty of competence on attorneys and law firms, including staying up to date on “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”

“For example, a lawyer doesn’t have to be an expert in predictive coding or use it in every case,” says Scott.  “But lawyers need to know what’s out there and how the technology could benefit clients.  In a document production where there are hundreds of thousands of documents to review and all a lawyer can offer as a solution are a couple of associates, it could be a problem.”