Even though the developers of AI can’t always accurately predict its capabilities, ABA Resolution 112 requires that lawyers address AI-related ethical and legal issues and know when the risks of using AI outweigh the benefits.
We are in our collective AI journey’s active learning and experimentation stage. Much is in flux, and much more remains to be discovered. Yet, lawyers must still strive to understand AI’s boundaries, its capabilities, and how it behaves in the real world. Here are a few considerations regarding the lawyer’s new and expanding role in the AI ecosystem:
Determine Where AI Excels And Where It Falls Short
AI can potentially revolutionize many industries, but it’s not without its limitations.
For example, AI is great at parsing through mountains of data, finding patterns, making connections, and detecting anomalies. But it cannot replicate or replace an experienced lawyer’s — or even an average human’s — ethical judgment or contextual creativity.
Will AI Play Well With Others?
How might AI interact with other game-changing technologies like blockchain and augmented reality? Blockchain technology can significantly impact the field of contract law as it provides a trustworthy and traceable means of automatically enforcing contractual obligations, confirming identifications, and verifying the provenance of contracts.
Using blockchain technology also raises questions about who is responsible if something goes wrong. Using an AI-powered tool to create and modify contracts can further exacerbate this issue. How can lawyers protect clients from these implications that result?
Who Will Prevent AI From Causing Societal Harm?
AI can significantly increase efficiency and accuracy, with many lawyers using it in their work. According to a recent LexisNexis survey of 1,176 lawyers, 51% had already used generative AI in their work or planned to do so, most commonly for researching matters, increasing efficiency, and writing emails. Some 84% believe generative AI tools will increase the efficiency of lawyers, paralegals, or law clerks.
However, widespread, mainstream AI adoption in organizations worldwide could lead to massive job losses and worsen societal inequalities. Generative AI alone could affect around 300 million full-time jobs globally, according to a Goldman Sachs report.
To what extent are companies responsible for ensuring that AI does not cause harm to society?
Will we wait for government regulation to protect us from capitalism’s naked interests?
Do we hope that tech giants self-regulate for the betterment of society?
Or is it incumbent on you as a legal advisor to make the decisions that ultimately benefit your company?
Mitigating Unintended Consequences Of AI Adoption
As with any new technology, unintended consequences inevitably arise. But in the age of AI, the impact could be more far-reaching than in the past.
To identify and mitigate the potential adverse effects of AI, your AI conversation will likely include leaders in IT, compliance, HR, other departments, legal ops professionals, regulators, outside counsel, clients, and even the public.
It certainly won’t be easy, but we are on the AI journey together. It’s an ongoing collective effort. Don’t forget that means we should have fun along the way!
How do you unite a diverse set of stakeholders to focus on AI?
What do you need to know about AI to be effective in your role?
When should you be concerned about AI’s impact on society?
Olga V. Mack is the VP at LexisNexis and CEO of Parley Pro, a next-generation contract management company that has pioneered online negotiation technology. Olga embraces legal innovation and had dedicated her career to improving and shaping the future of law. She is convinced that the legal profession will emerge even stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive than before by embracing technology. Olga is also an award-winning general counsel, operations professional, startup advisor, public speaker, adjunct professor, and entrepreneur. She founded the Women Serve on Boards movement that advocates for women to participate on corporate boards of Fortune 500 companies. She authored Get on Board: Earning Your Ticket to a Corporate Board Seat, Fundamentals of Smart Contract Security, and Blockchain Value: Transforming Business Models, Society, and Communities. She is working on Visual IQ for Lawyers, her next book (ABA 2023). You can follow Olga on Twitter @olgavmack.