• Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Florida Bar Ethics Impression OKs Lawyers’ Use Of Generative AI, But With Cautions


Jan 25, 2024
Florida Bar Ethics Opinion OKs Lawyers’ Use Of Generative AI, But With Cautions


A new ethics view from The Florida Bar suggests that legal professionals could ethically use generative AI technologies, provided they are careful to adhere to their ethical obligations.

The viewpoint also urges legal professionals to keep on to build competency in the use of new systems this kind of as AI and the hazards and added benefits inherent in these systems.

Accredited unanimously by The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors Jan. 19, the non-binding Ethics Advisory Opinion 24-1 was originally drafted by the bar’s Committee on Expert Ethics at the board’s ask for, in order to offer attorneys assistance on the use of generative AI.

The committee circulated a draft of the opinion in November, to which it received about a dozen feedback, in accordance to The Florida Bar News.

Acknowledging that generative AI has the prospective to “dramatically strengthen the performance of a lawyer’s apply,” the view even so cautions that it also poses a assortment of moral considerations.

“Lawyers employing generative AI should just take sensible safeguards to defend the confidentiality of client data, build policies for the sensible oversight of generative AI use, make sure service fees and fees are fair, and comply with relevant ethics and promotion restrictions,” the belief states.


In speaking about these a variety of moral troubles, the feeling commences with client confidentiality. When utilizing generative AI, a law firm has a duty to safeguard the confidentiality of shopper facts, the belief suggests. On the other hand, a lawyer have to have not acquire the client’s consent to use AI, unless its use would include the disclosure of confidential info.

To satisfy their moral obligations, legal professionals utilizing AI must sufficiently have an understanding of the know-how, the feeling says. Noting that many ethics opinions currently exist that spell out a lawyer’s obligations of confidentiality and competence in regions these types of as cloud computing, electronic storage disposal, remote paralegal companies, and metadata, the opinion says they are “equally applicable to a lawyer’s use of third-get together generative AI when dealing with confidential info.”

The belief also suggests that confidentiality considerations may be mitigated by use of inhouse generative AI.

Oversight of Generative AI

Just as a law firm has a responsibility to supervise non-lawyer assistants, a law firm has a obligation to make fair initiatives to be certain that the use of AI is appropriate with the lawyer’s have skilled obligations, the impression claims.

“Lawyers who rely on generative AI for investigation, drafting, interaction, and shopper intake hazard quite a few of the very same perils as those people who have relied on inexperienced or overconfident nonlawyer assistants.”

Even more, legal professionals have a responsibility to evaluation the function product or service of generative AI just as they would the get the job done of nonlawyer assistants these kinds of as paralegals. “Lawyers are finally accountable for the operate product or service that they develop irrespective of whether or not that get the job done solution was initially drafted or investigated by a nonlawyer or generative AI.”

The feeling warns versus working with generative AI in strategies that could constitute the exercise of legislation. In particular, it urges caution in the use of internet site chatbots, which, the opinion states, existing the risk of building a attorney-consumer romantic relationship without having the lawyer’s understanding.

“For these causes, a attorney should be wary of employing an extremely welcoming generative AI chatbot that may possibly supply authorized tips, are unsuccessful to straight away detect alone as a chatbot, or fail to contain distinct and fairly understandable disclaimers limiting the lawyer’s obligations.”

Lawful Charges and Costs

Ethics policies prohibit legal professionals from fees or costs that are illegal or plainly excessive. Specified that AI may well make a attorney more economical, the feeling claims, “this enhance in efficiency should not result in falsely inflated claims of time.”

In what is most likely a nod to those who say that generative AI could be the loss of life knell for the billable hour, the opinion suggests lawyers using generative AI take into consideration choice varieties of billing.

“Lawyers might want to think about adopting contingent rate preparations or flat billing fees for specific solutions so that the benefits of improved effectiveness accrue to the law firm and shopper alike.”

If a law firm intends to cost a consumer for the use of an AI service, the attorney should advise the client of this, if possible in composing, and be certain that all prices are acceptable and not duplicative, the viewpoint states.

Law firm Advertising and marketing

The opinion cautions attorneys to be very careful when using generative AI for promotion and intake. Here once again, it singles out the use of AI chatbots, warning attorneys that they will be liable if a chatbot gives deceptive details to possible purchasers or communicates in a method that is inappropriately intrusive or coercive.

“To stay away from confusion or deception, a attorney will have to advise possible clients that they are communicating with an AI method and not with a lawyer or law firm personnel,” the feeling claims.

Attorneys might advertise their use of AI, but simply cannot claim their AI is superior to the AI utilised by other attorneys or corporations “unless the lawyer’s promises are objectively verifiable.”

What is intended by “objectively verifiable”? That, claims the impression, “is a factual query that should be created on a scenario-by-scenario basis.”

The belief concludes with the be aware that generative AI is in its infancy and that the moral troubles protected in the view must not be viewed as an exhaustive listing.

“Rather, lawyers really should proceed to develop competency in their use of new systems and the risks and added benefits inherent in those people systems,” the viewpoint states.

The Bottom Line

With generative AI usually perceived as a radically different and probably more potent type of technology, there has been significantly penned about its moral implications for lawful professionals.

My impression has been that no new guidelines are desired to deal with generative AI — that the current rules and the present entire body of ethics views pertaining to the use of know-how utilize with equal power and clarity to generative AI.

This is significantly legitimate of lawyers’ responsibilities to be technologically knowledgeable, to secure privileged customer data, and to supervise the use of technological know-how by individuals with whom they operate.

Insofar as this impression depends heavily on prior ethics viewpoints around topics this kind of as cloud computing and the duty of know-how competence, it underscores that idea that, while generative AI is a recently rising engineering, the identical aged policies apply.

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