From the outside looking in, the process of lawyering is a bit of a black box. Normies don’t know that to find out what a law means you don’t stop at reading the thing — you have to consult the caselaw or know which billionaires are funding which justices under the table — when you’re paying medium to top dollar, you’re paying some person to use their mind to parse through those legal troubles for you. If they want to outsource some of the thinking to AI, is that just godfathered in as part of the job, or should there be a permission form that needs to be signed before ChatJD spits out your legal advice? It’s a good question, and one that the Florida Bar is currently mulling over. From Reuters:
The Florida Bar is crafting a new advisory opinion focused on the use of AI and has asked Florida lawyers to weigh in. Florida bar leaders have tasked the Florida Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics with creating rules around the use of generative AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google Bard or Microsoft’s Bing.
In addition to a requirement that lawyers obtain their clients’ consent before using AI, the committee will also consider whether such AI is subject to the same lawyer supervision requirements as non-lawyer assistants, and whether lawyer fees should be lower when AI is used. It will also look at whether law firms should be allowed to advertise their generative AI as superior or unique, and whether lawyers may encourage clients to rely on due diligence reports generated by AI.
The response to the increased use of AI lends itself to questioning industry norms. If lawyers are getting help from an algorithm, should clients have to pay less? If the quality of the work product is the same, should there really be a discount? Assuming no quality issues and that the use of AI speeds up the process, completing projects with fewer billable hours would automatically lead to less cost. Assuming the lawyers aren’t fools who don’t double check their work product, it should be a win-win situation for everyone, right?
If you’re a lawyer in Florida, take a weekend or two to think through both sides and submit your thoughts to the Bar. You have until December 1st — get to it!
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at email@example.com and by tweet at @WritesForRent.