The Supreme Court Calls for Deliberation as AI Reshapes The Legal Sector

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Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Roberts, has published a 13-page year-end report, showcasing the mixed nature of the impact of AI in the legal field.

Explaining that generative AI was a mixed bag of blessings for the legal sector, he urged “caution and humility” at a time when technology is reshaping the way lawyers and judges work.

In the 13-page report, Chief Justice Roberts recognized the potential that AI technologies hold to enhance access to justice for indigent litigants. These tools can revolutionize legal research and speed up case resolutions.

However, he also expressed the need for vigilance due to privacy concerns and the inability of the technology to reproduce human discretion.

I predict that human judges will be around for a while… But with equal confidence, I predict that judicial work – particularly at the trial level – will be significantly affected by AI.John Roberts

In the context of the impact of AI in the legal field, this was the most significant commentary from Justice Robert to date. Interestingly, his views fall in the line of ongoing challenges that lower courts are struggling with, while adapting AI technologies.

AI Hallucinations Continue To Misguide Courts
The Chief Justice also raised questions about AI “hallucinations”, which prompt generative AI to provide fictitious content. He further noted an instance where lawyers cited non-existent cases in court papers due to AI hallucinations.

He dubbed it “always a bad idea” to rely on such tools solely while dealing with court matters. Besides, he observed that AI hallucinations had “made headlines this year”.

In 2018, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to charges of campaign finance violations, tax evasion, and lying to Congress.

The former fixer and lawyer for Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, revealed the consequences of such problems recently. He admitted that he had unintentionally cited fake cases that an AI program had generated in official court filings.

This incident explains the potential pitfalls of depending on AI for legal matters without carrying out thorough scrutiny.

The AI-generated fictitious cases were quoted in a written argument by Cohen’s attorney, David M. Schwartz. Previously, Cohen had served over a year in prison and was trying to close the chapter for his legal battles.

Notably, these charges were linked to allegations that the former US president had directed Cohen to arrange payments to be made to a former Playboy model and a porn actor to protect them during the presidential campaign in 2016.

Human Scrutiny Required For AI Use In Legal Proceedings
In another development further complicating the situation, a federal appeals court in New Orleans made headlines for making a proposal. It was the first case where US courts tried to control the use of generative AI tools by its lawyers.

This proposed rule from the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals made it mandatory for lawyers to declare that they either refrained from depending on AI tools while creative briefs, or reviewed AI-generated text through humans before filing court papers.

This further explains the pressing need for legal organizations to control the use of AI, signifying the ongoing struggles within the sector to cope with the challenges. With the right approach, the integrity of legal proceedings can be preserved to ensure accountability.


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