Artificial Intelligence and Other Technology in Law Practice

Article written by Paul C. Ray published in the bar journal Communiqué (Apr. 2024)

By Paul C. Ray, Esq.

Technology develops so quickly; it is wise to obtain updates periodically on technology and the law. Old technology articles can seem like prehistoric writings. Nonetheless, history sometimes repeats itself.

In the early days of computer virus legal issues, a Cornell graduate student named Robert Tappen Morris, who was the son of a chief scientist at the National Security Agency’s Computer Security Center, caused a virus to spread across “an extended network of approximately 250,000 computers.” This quoted description from my 1991 student law review article was what I understood the Internet to be 33 years ago. The legal issues I wrote about at that time were how best to prosecute computer misuses.

Writing the computer viruses article was a learning experience about the difficulty of anticipating future relevance in the law of present technology. But it was worthwhile to learn how the law developed to address technology and how developing technology affects the law. This type of learning is still useful.

Last year, in 2023, Steven Schwartz and his Manhattan law firm, Levidow, Levidow & Oberman, misused artificial intelligence (AI) in their legal briefing. ChatGPT made up nonexistent cases to support the arguments of Mr. Schwartz’s brief to the federal district court. Opposing severe sanctions for their mistake, they argued they had already been punished enough, describing themselves as the “poster children of the perils of dabbling with new technology.”

This past December 2023, the National Judicial College highlighted the type of problem Mr. Schwartz illustrated of misplacing reliance on AI legal research. No attorney should want to be the next example like Mr. Schwartz.

The National Judicial College conference in Las Vegas discussed positive uses of AI in the law. Our own State Bar of Nevada General Counsel Dan Hooge presented a PowerPoint with graphics generated by artificial intelligence. Other speakers used various points of AI research to augment their presentations. AI can help to efficiently find and summarize research, but it is important to verify the research, as Mr. Schwartz found out all too painfully.

Using AI, I found several technology issues I had not previously known about. Examples include smart contracts, the Internet of Things, and edge computing. Legal chatbots, virtual assistants, blockchain, cryptocurrency integration, electronic discovery tools, and data protection and privacy are other developments in technology which raise legal issues.

Given the increase of worldwide connectivity, it can also be worth knowing that the European Union takes a different approach to information regulation with its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR provides that individuals have fundamental rights of access to and protection of their personal data.

Using AI can help to learn about technology and the law. But ironically, using AI can also cause problems. ChatGPT helped to identify legal issues of technology for this article. What matters most is not the technology itself, but how people use the technology.

About the author

Paul C. Ray has practiced business and real estate litigation and appeals for 32 years. He is with the law firm of Paul C. Ray, Chtd. Paul serves as CCBA President through December 31, 2024.

About the article

© 2024 Clark County Bar Association (CCBA). All rights reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher. Editorial policy available upon request.

This article was originally published in the Communiqué (Apr. 2024), the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association. See https://clarkcountybar.org/about/member-benefits/communique-2024/communique-apr-2024/.

The articles and advertisements appearing in Communiqué magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the CCBA, the CCBA Publications Committee, the editorial board, or the other authors. All legal and other issues discussed are not for the purpose of answering specific legal questions. Attorneys and others are strongly advised to independently research all issues.

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