Last month, we highlighted the fact that the ABA adopted Resolution 604—which includes guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence (AI)—at the association’s 2023 Midyear Meeting in New Orleans. Resolution 604 is broadly focused on the design, development, and deployment of AI by technology organizations. Specifically, Resolution 604 states that AI developers should: ensure their products are subject to human authority, oversight, and control; include accountability measures if developers have not taken reasonable steps to mitigate harm or injury; and provide transparency and traceability for their products. The resolution also encourages federal and state lawmakers and regulators to follow the same standards when making AI policy. When speaking in favor of the resolution, Delegate Al Harvey with the Senior Lawyers Division noted that as policymakers try to develop laws and regulations regarding AI, “The ABA needs policy on it. We need to have a seat at the table when these matters are being discussed.”

ABA President Mary Smith accepted that challenge and recently created the AI Task Force. In a statement regarding the Task Force, President Smith noted that the ABA has always been at the forefront of addressing major issues. She added, “At a time when both private and public sector organizations are moving rapidly to develop and use artificial intelligence, we are called again to address both the promise and the peril of emerging technologies. Law touches all aspects of society and the ABA is uniquely positioned to take a leadership role to address how AI will impact the legal profession and access to justice.”

According to the ABA website, the mission of this new initiative is to “(1) address the impact of AI on the legal profession and the practice of law, (2) provide insights on developing and using AI in a trustworthy and responsible manner, and (3) identify ways to address AI risks.” The AI Task Force will also provide attorneys with information on developments in the use of AI in the legal profession, tips to navigate AI, help in using AI responsibly, and recommendations on emerging issues. It will do that by focusing on six issues, including AI and the Profession, AI Risk Management, AI and Access to Justice, AI Governance, AI Challenges, and AI and Legal Education. 

With respect to AI in Legal Education, the ABA website suggests that lawyers have the burden of educating themselves on this new technology. It notes that lawyers and judges should know how AI is developed and used and any legal and ethical issues related to its use. Law students should also incorporate the ways AI is used and any relevant ethical considerations into their legal education.

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