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ABA Mobilizes Legal Experts to Navigate AI’s Legal Terrain

In response to the burgeoning influence of artificial intelligence on the legal sector, the American Bar Association (ABA) is mobilizing a specialized team of legal luminaries. Tasked with steering the legal fraternity through the challenges and opportunities AI presents, this endeavor by the premier attorney membership organization signals a proactive approach to an evolving landscape.

Monday saw the ABA announcing its initiative to assemble a group aimed at evaluating the ramifications of AI on legal practices. This team will also delve deep into the ethical conundrums AI potentially triggers within the legal realm. With innovative AI tools such as ChatGPT making waves, attorneys and their firms are in a fervent phase of experimentation. Yet, the path is strewn with unforeseen obstacles and moral dilemmas.

ABA President Mary Smith remarked, “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.”

The newly-formed task force will feature seven “special advisors” who come with impeccable credentials. Notables among them are former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Seth Waxman, the erstwhile U.S. Solicitor General who currently co-chairs the appellate and Supreme Court litigation practice at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. The team will also be graced by the expertise of Michelle Lee, former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Ivan Fong, a previous general counsel at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Leading the charge is Lucy Thomson, a seasoned attorney based in Washington, D.C., who also wears the hat of a cybersecurity engineer. Officially christened the ABA Task Force on Law and Artificial Intelligence, their purview will encompass AI-related risk management, generative AI, justice accessibility, AI governance, and its inclusion in legal academia.

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Detailing the mission, Thomson stated the group aims to “focus on current and emerging issues in AI and provide practical information that lawyers need to stay abreast of and navigate this complex technology.”

It’s a transformative period for the legal domain. While law firms are fervently investing in pioneering AI tools, even titans like PricewaterhouseCoopers are facilitating AI tool access for legal professionals. Concurrently, law schools nationwide are pondering the integration of AI in candidate applications and academic curriculums.

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