Artificial Intelligence and the Practice of Law Part 1: Lawyers Must be Professional and Responsible Supervisors of AI

6 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2023

See all articles by Michael D. Murray

Michael D. Murray

University of Kentucky, J. David Rosenberg College of Law

Date Written: June 14, 2023

Abstract

This article discusses the benefits and challenges of using artificial intelligence (AI) systems to assist lawyers in legal practice. It argues that at present AI systems are not a threat to take over lawyers’ jobs, but rather a powerful tool that can enhance the efficiency and quality of lawyers’ work. However, it also warns that AI systems are not infallible and require professional and responsible supervision by lawyers. The article provides some best practices and recommendations for lawyers to ensure the accuracy and reliability of AI-generated legal work:

• AI systems are tools that learn to do legal tasks and do them well at amazing speeds, but they are not (yet) self-aware or capable of reasoning like humans. Lawyers must exercise due diligence and ethical standards when using AI systems to support their legal practice. They should supervise everything the AI does and verify the sources, information, and forms that the AI provides. Lawyers must make judgments as to proving the AI with useful information but still respecting client confidentiality.

• AI systems can generate coherent and persuasive legal texts, but they can also make errors such as fabricating sources, misinterpreting facts, or applying the wrong laws and legal sources.

• AI systems learn from large datasets of legal and non-legal material on the internet, but they do not understand the meaning or context of what they read or write. The AI systems aim to please, but they lack judgment, wisdom, honesty, and legal experience.

• Lawyers should use AI systems to assist them with tasks where they already know what the research, sources, and form of the response should look like. This will help the lawyers to evaluate the results and spot any errors or inconsistencies.

• AI systems are very good (and very fast) at performing tasks such as document review, translation, summarization, analysis, explanation, or making connections using facts, datasets, and publicly available legal sources. Lawyers should not ask AI systems to make choices or exercise discretionary judgment. Lawyers should ask the AI to perform tasks that the AI is good at and leave the talents and skills that are uniquely human to human lawyers.

The conclusion is that lawyers should embrace AI systems as a powerful tool that can enhance their efficiency and quality of work, but they should also remember the importance of human oversight and judgment in the use of AI for law.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, AI, machine learning, verbal generative AI, hallucination, legal research, legal drafting, professional responsibility, human supervision, best practices, ethics, human oversight, document review, value judgments, confidentiality

JEL Classification: K1, K10, K3, K30, K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Murray, Michael D., Artificial Intelligence and the Practice of Law Part 1: Lawyers Must be Professional and Responsible Supervisors of AI (June 14, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4478588 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4478588

Michael D. Murray (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky, J. David Rosenberg College of Law ( email )

620 S. Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40506-0048
United States
219-299-9777 (Phone)
859-323-1061 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.uky.edu/people/michael-murray

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