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The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2023 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary on the use of AI

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The 2023 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary, by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, discusses how technological advances will continue to transform the work of Judges, and the legal profession. See pgs. 2-3. Chief Justice Roberts stated “[l]ike the rest of society, if not quite as quickly, the federal judiciary has adapted its practices to meet the opportunities and challenges of new technologies.” See pg. 3.

Chief Justice Roberts went through the technological advances and transition to more modern forms of document production over the past 150 years. See pg. 3. He stated “[b]y the turn of the century, the paper world familiar to lawyers for centuries had largely given way to today’s electronic regime.” See pg. 4.

Chief Justice Roberts stated that we now face the latest technological frontier: artificial intelligence (AI). See pg. 5. “At its core, AI combines algorithms and enormous data sets to solve problems” and “[i]ts many forms and applications include the facial recognition we use to unlock our smart phones and the voice recognition we use to direct our smart televisions.” See pg. 5.

“Proponents of AI tout its potential to increase access to justice, particularly for litigants with limited resources.” See pg. 5. For example, “[f]or those who cannot afford a lawyer, AI can help” as “[i]t drives new, highly accessible tools that provide answers to basic questions, including where to find templates and court forms, how to fill them out, and where to bring them for presentation to the judge—all without leaving home.” See pg. 5.

However, Chief Justice Roberts indicated, “any use of AI requires caution and humility” as “[o]ne of AI’s prominent applications made headlines this year for a shortcoming known as “hallucination,” which caused the lawyers using the application to submit briefs with citations to non-existent cases.” See pg. 6. Moreover, legal scholars have questioned whether entering confidential information into AI tools can compromise attempts to later invoke legal privileges. See pg. 6. Chief Justice Roberts explained that “[m]achines cannot fully replace key actors in court.” See pg. 6.

Further, Chief Justice Roberts stated that “Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure directs the parties and the courts to seek the “just, speedy, and inexpensive” resolution of cases” and “[m]any AI applications indisputably assist the judicial system in advancing those goals.” See pg. 6.

Chief Justice Roberts “predict[ed] that human judges will be around for a while”, “[b]ut with equal confidence [he] predict[ed] that judicial work—particularly at the trial level—will be significantly affected by AI.” See pg. 6.

If your law firm is using AI, there are ways to avoid common pitfalls that come along with such use. Be sure to cite only reported cases and read all cases before citing them as precedent. As a law firm which defends law firms and lawyers in legal malpractice cases, we believe that AI will be used, extensively, by attorneys in the future, but the improper application of AI may lead to further legal malpractice actions. Also, as we rely on experts to defend these cases, experts should become familiar with the application of AI in the law.

If you have any further questions or concerns as to how AI may affect your law firm’s workplace policies and procedures, we, at Thomas Paschos & Associates, P.C. would be glad to speak with you and review your workplace policies and procedures, and assist in placing best practices in place to avoid legal malpractice actions. One of our attorneys specializing in this field can speak with you today about our services. Contact Thomas Paschos & Associates, P.C. for more information. We can be reached at 856-354-1900 or 267-205-2444. You can also contact Thomas Paschos, Esq.

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