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ChatGPT and Generative AI Legal Research Guide

American Bar Association (ABA) and State Bar Responses

Florida Bar Provides Guidance on Lawyers’ Use of Generative AI, McLane Middleton, Jack D. Hepburn, March 20, 2024.

This article discusses an ethics opinion issued by the Florida Bar regarding lawyers' use of generative AI, emphasizing confidentiality, oversight, billing practices, and advertising. The Florida Bar highlights the importance of ethical considerations in using AI for legal tasks, including safeguarding client confidentiality, supervising AI-generated content for accuracy, and ensuring fair billing practices. Additionally, it underscores the need for transparent communication about AI's role in client interactions.

Florida Becomes the First Bar to Issue Ethics Guidance on the Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Practice of Law, Ethics Alarms, Jack Marshall, January 23, 2024

The Florida Bar has become the first in the U.S. to issue ethics guidance on the use of generative AI in law practice. The advisory opinion, Florida Bar ethics opinion 24-1, outlines that lawyers may use AI but must protect client confidentiality, provide competent services, avoid improper billing practices, and comply with advertising restrictions. It mandates that lawyers ensure data protection when using AI and remain responsible for their work product and professional judgment. The opinion advises against improper billing practices, like double-billing, and requires AI chatbots communicating with clients or third parties to include disclaimers. The bar emphasizes lawyers' duty to maintain technological competence and stay informed about new technology's risks and benefits. This general advisory opinion, not binding or sanctionable, reflects the need to start addressing AI's increasing impact on legal practice.

Hundreds of Experts to Examine Wide-Ranging Issues Facing Legal Profession at New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting, New York State Bar Association, Rebecca Melnitsky, January 5, 2024

The New York State Bar Association's 147th Annual Meeting, scheduled for January 16-20 at the Hilton Midtown in New York City, will bring together experts across various fields to address major challenges in the legal profession. Key issues include artificial intelligence, cannabis sales, cybersecurity, data privacy, short-term rentals, and new tax regulations. The highlight of the event, the Presidential Summit, will delve into artificial intelligence's impact on law practice and related ethical concerns. Speakers include Bridget McCormack, CEO of the American Arbitration Association, and Katherine Forrest, partner at Paul, Weiss. Additionally, the Constance Baker Motley Symposium will honor lawyers promoting diversity in the legal field. Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will be awarded the Gold Medal Award at the Presidential Gala. The meeting will also feature panels on topics like international cartel enforcement, the influence of money in college sports, and the regulation of short-term rentals.

Citing ‘Political Challenges,’ ABA Innovation Center Cancels Op-Ed Advocating Regulatory Reform; In An Exclusive, We Have the Piece They Wouldn’t Publish, Bob Ambrogi, LawSites, August 3, 2023 

Facing "political challenges" and fearing budget cuts, the American Bar Association's (ABA) Center for Innovation canceled the publication of an op-ed advocating for regulatory reform. This decision coincides with the ABA's annual meeting and impending budget reviews. The Center, known for promoting legal service innovation, initially agreed to publish the piece in its biannual report but later retracted, only informing the authors on the scheduled publication day. The op-ed, critical of the ABA's stance on non-lawyer legal service providers, highlights ongoing controversies within the ABA regarding legal industry reform and the Center's role in these debates. 

Opinion: DoNotPay Controversy Illuminates Urgent Need for Regulatory Reform, Maya Markovich &Tom Gordon, LawNext, August 2, 2023 

DoNotPay, a "robot lawyer" service, has sparked debate about unauthorized practice of law regulations. The controversy highlights how the current regulatory system relies heavily on after-the-fact enforcement of UPL laws, failing to proactively protect consumers. Utah's "regulatory sandbox" offers a model for reform by evaluating innovative providers' risk of consumer harm and requiring fixes, rather than waiting for violations. This approach would have prevented DoNotPay's alleged misconduct. As technology expands access to legal services, regulations must shift focus to holistic, harm-prevention models. 

NJ Bar Task Force Aims To 'Get in On the Ground Floor' Of AI, Law360, Jake Maher, September 27, 2023

The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) is forming a team to explore artificial intelligence (AI), its ethical implications, and its role in future legal practices following the approval by the NJSBA's Board of Trustees on September 14. This initiative, propelled by similar moves from the New Jersey Supreme Court and the American Bar Association, aims to provide guidelines for attorneys on AI usage. The task force, awaiting final member confirmation, anticipates having its inaugural meeting within a month to outline its objectives. NJSBA President Tim McGoughran emphasized the urgency of engaging with AI as it rapidly alters legal practices, illustrated by his experiment with ChatGPT which efficiently drafted a near-accurate client letter on divorce law.

ABA Launches Task Force to Study Promise, Peril Of AI, Law360, Tracey Read, August 8, 2023

The American Bar Association (ABA) launched a task force to delve into the legal and ethical quandaries posed by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, aiming to examine issues like bias, data confidentiality threats, and potential waivers of legal privileges. Chaired by Lucy L. Thomson, the task force will also explore how AI can enhance justice accessibility and provide resources to educate lawyers and judges on this technology. The initiative underscores the legal sector's proactive approach in grappling with the emerging challenges and opportunities associated with AI, reflecting a broader societal and professional endeavor to responsibly integrate these advancing technologies.

Task Force on the Law and Artificial Intelligence Addressing the Legal Challenges of AI, American Bar association, August, 2023

The AI Task force will focus on six critical issues: AI and the Profession, AI Risk Management, AI and Access to Justice, AI Governance, AI Challenges – Generative AI, and AI and Legal Education.