ABA launches task force to analyse impact of AI on legal industry

Task force will examine risks of AI, as well as potential opportunities to support lawyers

The American Bar Association (ABA) has formed a task force to study the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the legal profession and the ethical implications for lawyers.

The task force will look at the risks posed by AI, including the spread of disinformation, bias and data privacy issues, as well as the potential benefits, including using AI to improve access to justice and how it can be used for legal education. The task force will also look at emerging issues around generative AI and AI governance.

ABA president Mary Smith said: “The American Bar Association and the legal profession have always lifted their voices to lead and chart the future. At a time when both private and public sector organisations 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 task force will be chaired by Lucy Thomson, founding principal at Washington DC-based firm Livingston. She is also a former chair of the ABA science and technology law section and a founding member of the ABA cybersecurity legal task force. Former Jones Day partner Cynthia Cwik, Corporation for Public Broadcasting assistant general counsel Laura Possessky and James Sandman will serve as vice chairs of the task force.

Smith added: “Lucy’s knowledge of the legal and technical issues in complex emerging technologies, her law enforcement, private sector and government experience addressing challenging cybersecurity and privacy issues, and her record as a proven ABA leader all make her an outstanding choice to lead this critical work.”

The task force will also be supported by a group of special advisers, who include former Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and former US Department of Homeland Security GC Ivan Fong.

Thomson said: “The AI task force will focus on current and emerging issues in AI and provide practical information that lawyers need to stay abreast of and navigate this complex technology. This group will provide insights for developing and using AI in a trustworthy and responsible manner.”

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