In response to the growing concerns surrounding the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal profession, law.MIT.edu has formed a Task Force dedicated to developing principles and guidelines for the responsible application of generative-AI in legal work. This initiative comes after a New York attorney was fined for submitting a fake, AI-generated brief in federal court. The Task Force has now released an early version of seven draft principles outlining the duties and responsibilities that lawyers should uphold when using AI for legal work. The aim is to ensure factual accuracy, valid legal reasoning, and compliance with professional ethics while maintaining human oversight over AI applications. The Task Force is actively seeking feedback from the industry to refine and finalize these principles.
Principles for the responsible use of generative-AI
The MIT Task Force believes that generative AI holds substantial potential for the legal industry but emphasizes the need for informed caution in its application. To guide the responsible use of AI, the Task Force has proposed seven draft principles:
1. Confidentiality – Lawyers must maintain confidentiality with the client in all usage of AI applications to protect sensitive information.
2. Fiduciary care – Lawyers must exercise fiduciary care to the client in all usage of AI applications to act in their best interests.
3. Client notice and consent – Lawyers must inform and seek consent from the client in all usage of AI applications, though exceptions may apply based on existing best practices.
4. Competence – Lawyers must demonstrate competence in the usage and understanding of AI applications to ensure effective and ethical deployment.
5. Fiduciary loyalty – Lawyers must maintain fiduciary loyalty to the client in all usage of AI applications to prioritize their interests.
6. Regulatory compliance – Lawyers must adhere to all relevant regulations and respect the rights of third parties when using AI applications in their jurisdiction(s).
7. Accountability and supervision – Lawyers must exercise accountability and maintain human oversight over all usage and outputs of AI applications to avoid undue reliance on AI-generated results.
The Task Force encourages feedback from the legal community to further enhance and refine these principles to create a robust framework for responsible AI use.
The task force members
The responsible AI Task Force comprises prominent thought leaders in the legal industry, bringing together expertise and diverse perspectives. The team consists of:
Dazza Greenwood (Chair)
Shawnna Hoffman (Co-Chair)
Olga V. Mack (LexisNexis / CodeX Fellow at Stanford / Berkeley Law Lecturer)
Jeff Saviano (EY / MIT Connection Science Fellow)
Megan Ma (Stanford / MIT)
Aileen Schultz (MIT Computational Law Report)
The Task Force has also welcomed contributions from various other thought leaders to ensure a comprehensive approach to developing these governing principles.
Open Forum and Joint Task Force
To facilitate open discussion and gather valuable input, the Task Force has organized an open forum on August 16, 2023. The forum will be conducted on Zoom at 12:00 p.m. PT, 3:00 p.m. ET, and welcomes all stakeholders interested in the governance of generative AI in the legal profession. Participants can provide feedback on the proposed principles and engage in a broader conversation about the responsible use of AI. Those who are interested might request an invitation by completing the Task Force’s feedback form.
Also, the Task Force is expanding its scope by joining forces with CodeX, The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics, to bolster the efforts in promoting responsible AI adoption in the legal field.
As AI continues to revolutionize the legal industry, the MIT Task Force’s proposed principles for the responsible use of generative AI are a crucial step toward ensuring ethical and informed adoption. By upholding these principles, lawyers can harness the potential of AI while safeguarding the rights and interests of their clients and the broader legal community. The interactive approach taken by the Task Force to seek industry feedback reflects the commitment to a collaborative and inclusive process in shaping the future of AI in legal work.