Artificial Intelligence & Robotics

ABA's AI task force will provide lawyers with practical tips, starting with Sept. 28 webinar

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Through the next year, the ABA's Task Force on the Law and Artificial Intelligence will provide practical information to help lawyers navigate and responsibly use AI, as well as recommendations and reports on several key issues. Image from Shutterstock.

Lucy Thomson has long focused on the intersection of law and technology. In recent years, as a founding member of the ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force, Thomson began tracking the rapid development of artificial intelligence and worked with a group of AI experts across the association to develop Resolution 604. The measure addresses how attorneys, regulators and other stakeholders should assess accountability, transparency and traceability in AI, and was adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in February.

Thomson, the founding principal of Livingston in Washington, D.C., and her colleague Laura Possessky also started discussing with then-ABA President-elect Mary Smith the possibility of an associationwide task force to study the impact of AI on the practice of law.

“Mary Smith asked us to consider whether setting up an AI task force would be a good idea, and we were enthusiastic that it was,” says Thomson, who is also a past chair of the ABA Science & Technology Law Section. “We spent several months working with her to figure out the parameters, who would be involved and what issues we would explore.”

Smith became president of the ABA in August and announced shortly after the creation of the Task Force on Law and Artificial Intelligence. She called it a vital initiative of the ABA, emphasizing that “at a time when both private and public sector organizations are moving rapidly to develop and use artificial intelligence, we are called again to lead to address both the promise and the peril of emerging technologies.”

Chaired by Thomson, the task force will focus on six key issues:

  • Impact of AI on the legal profession
  • Access to justice
  • AI benefits and challenges
  • AI governance
  • AI and legal education
  • AI risk management

Through the next year, it will provide practical information to help lawyers navigate and responsibly use AI, as well as recommendations and reports on these key issues.

“In addition to looking at the issues, we will basically serve as a forum across the ABA to encourage discussion and dialogue,” says Possessky, the vice president of business affairs and assistant general counsel at Corporation for Public Broadcasting and a vice-chair of the task force. “A lot of the people engaged in this task force are not only lawyers but have technical and scientific backgrounds, and some actual understanding and knowledge of how this technology works.”

“That creates an opportunity for us to also think about ways we can work to fill any kind of educational information gaps for lawyers,” adds Possessky, the current chair of the Science & Technology Law Section.

James Sandman, president emeritus of the Legal Services Corp., and Cynthia Cwik, a former partner with Jones Day and a former Fellow with Stanford’s Distinguished Careers Institute, also are vice-chairs of the Task Force on the Law and Artificial Intelligence. It consists of 17 total members, a 13-member advisory council and seven special advisers.

The task force will host a series of programs, beginning with “AI Governance: A Conversation with Reva Schwartz of the National Institute of Standards and Technology About NIST’s New AI Risk Management Framework” on Sept. 28.

Cwik, a past chair of the Science & Technology Law Section, will talk with Reva Schwartz, a member of the task force’s advisory council, about how organizations are implementing the NIST framework to advance trustworthy and responsible AI. The webinar is free; more details and registration are found here.

The Task Force on the Law and Artificial Intelligence is also co-sponsoring the 2023 Artificial Intelligence & Robotics National Institute, an annual two-day program that covers recent developments in AI and robotics law and policy and provides guidance for practicing law and managing any risks. It will be from Oct. 9 to 10 at the Santa Clara University School of Law in Santa Clara, California. Any ABA member can register to attend.

“During the course of the year, we also expect to be posting information on our website that will include not only programs and podcasts but also short papers on some of the issues and a resource section, which will highlight important work by leading organizations from government to think tanks to private sector organizations,” Thomson adds. “We want to curate these resources for lawyers, so they’ll have them and know what they are.”

For more information and to find this information, visit the Task Force on the Law and Artificial Intelligence’s website.

Updated on Sept. 21 to correct a reference to Cynthia Cwik’s job titles.

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