By Anup Iyer
Generative artificial intelligence, known as AI, despite its immense promise, isn’t without its challenges in the realm of law.
Many legal professionals voice concerns about over-dependence on technology. If we lean too heavily on generative AI, do we run the risk of letting our legal acumen rust over time? Then there’s the often-discussed issue of bias. Just as a judge’s verdict might be influenced by his or her personal experiences, an AI’s output can reflect the biases in the data it was trained on. Additionally, in a profession where client confidentiality is paramount, relying on cloud-based AI solutions presents real worries about potential data breaches. And lastly, in a field that thrives on personal touch and nuance, can an AI truly replicate the subtleties and intuition a seasoned lawyer brings to the table?
Embracing the digital evolution in the legal sector is no small feat, especially when generative AI becomes a central player. While these challenges might initially seem daunting, with proactive strategies, they can be transformed into opportunities for innovation and advancement. The key is not to shun the issues but to address them directly, ensuring that technology acts as an enhancement rather than a hindrance. Let’s focus on each issue and explore practical solutions that allow us to integrate generative AI into the legal landscape.
Over-dependence on technology
Incorporating technology into the legal sphere has its considerations. For one, there’s the thought that consistent reliance might lead to certain skills being used less often. Over-reliance on AI might allow data-focused AI insights to overshadow human-centric intuition. Additionally, being too tech-dependent might challenge adaptability in situations where clients might feel that their issues are not given genuine human attention.
The key lies in balance. Consider generative AI as a refined calculator. Just as using a calculator does not imply one can forget basic arithmetic, employing AI shouldn’t translate to sidelining core legal competencies. Instituting essential in-house workshops and prompting teams to periodically adopt manual methods can be beneficial. Engaging in case discussions without AI’s input ensures those legal aptitudes remain sharp and practiced.
Bias in decision making
AI’s integration into law raises concerns about potential biases, stemming from historical data, homogenous development teams, an over-emphasis on quantitative data and AI’s tendency to generalize. These biases can lead to unfair judgments, erode trust in legal systems and present ethical dilemmas for legal professionals. Addressing these is crucial to ensure that AI aids in delivering justice rather than compromising it.
The responsibility hinges on curating diverse and inclusive training data sets for AI. Teaming up with data scientists can help guarantee that the AI’s educational resources are comprehensive and devoid of prominent biases. Routine checks of AI outcomes can assist in identifying and addressing biases. Scheduling yearly or biyearly assessments, including bringing in external specialists, can offer a renewed and impartial view of the AI’s determinations.
Data security concerns
Incorporating generative AI into legal practices introduces data security challenges, arising from potential cyberbreaches, possible insufficient encryption, vulnerabilities in cloud storage, and data-sharing risks. These concerns threaten client confidentiality, risk exposure of case strategies and can lead to regulatory implications. For the legal industry to fully harness AI’s benefits, implementing robust security measures to safeguard sensitive information is imperative.
In choosing an AI platform, emphasize options equipped with strong security features, such as comprehensive encryption and multilevel verification. If cloud solutions raise concerns, explore in-house, local alternatives. Collaborate with cybersecurity experts for routine security checks and breach simulations. Taking these steps not only fortifies data protection but also enhances client confidence.
Lack of human touch
The integration of generative AI in law, while promising efficiency, raises concerns about losing the vital human touch. Legal practice thrives on empathy, intuition, contextual understanding and relationship building, aspects that AI can’t fully replicate. An over-reliance on AI might reduce client satisfaction, pose ethical questions and diminish professional fulfillment for lawyers. To truly benefit from AI, a balanced approach that combines technology with the intrinsic human essence of law is essential.
AI should serve as a support tool, not an outright substitute. While AI can offer analytical insights and comprehensive background details, crucial interactions like client meetings, strategy deliberations or courtroom representations demand the irreplaceable human touch. Organize training modules that focus on interpersonal skills and instinctive judgments and reinforce lawyers’ connection to the personal dimensions of their work.
Generative AI has its hurdles in the legal world. However, with careful planning and proactive measures, these challenges can not only be mitigated but turned into opportunities for growth and evolution.
Anup Iyer is an associate at Moore & Van Allen’s office in Charlotte. His practice focuses on assisting clients with obtaining patent and trademark rights across diverse technology sectors; patent drafting, prosecuting and searching; freedom to operate and invalidity opinions; infringement and due diligence analyses; and trademark clearance and registration.