This year’s NCBA Annual Meeting features a rockstar lineup of legal innovators from around the country. Among them is Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase and a leader in Artificial Intelligence integrations for the legal profession.
Walters will present a CLE titled “Ethics of Artificial Intelligence” on Saturday, June 23 at 12:30 at the Wilmington Convention Center. Registration for NCBA Annual Meeting includes CLE while availability remains. Sign up by May 1 to secure your place.
Here’s a quick look at Walters’ take on AI and the future of the law.
Are you concerned about AI changing the legal profession’s understanding of ethics?
I’m more concerned with how we apply the existing ethical rules to new tech, including AI. The ethics rules (for the most part) stay the same, and we apply them to a changing world. Sounds easy, but it’s actually pretty hard.
Most of our ethical rules exist to protect clients – but when machines begin analyzing legal problems, our rules break down. With existing lawyer regulations, we regulate the inputs: lawyers have to graduate from an accredited law school, pass the bar exam, pass character and fitness, and in many states, do continuing legal education. We presume that people who satisfy those conditions are fit to dispense legal advice.
Those questions are irrelevant to machines. Could Watson pass the bar exam? Probably – but would that mean that it could give competent legal advice? Probably not. With software, we’d probably want to look at outputs: is the advice accurate and up to date?
Think about TurboTax. Is there any question that the software is interpreting tax law? No – but it isn’t licensed anywhere. Do we need to regulate TurboTax? No. But we also wouldn’t let Intuit start representing clients in legal matters either. We’re not yet ready to draw the lines, but that world is coming fast.