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Legal Practice Innovations & Efficiencies, Technology, and Ethics: An Overview

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Legal Practice Innovations & Efficiencies, Technology, and Ethics: An Overview

This course will take a deep dive into various legal technology used in law firms today, specifically addressing the efficiency of such technology, the ethical implications created by using this technology, and compliance considerations when managing data. We will also discuss legal analytics to address how and why law firms use them. This course will also provide practical considerations for using technology tools to establish law firm processes and review best practices for attorneys when working virtually.

Transcript

Hello everyone. My name is Katie Brown. I'm the associate dean for Information Resources at Charleston School of Law. And I'm really excited today to talk to you all about legal practice, innovation and efficiency, technology and ethics. And so the idea behind this presentation is that it is an overview. We're going to talk about a lot of the legal tech that is being used in law firms today. Some are brand new things like to us like AI and ChatGPT. Some of them have been around for a while. And then we'll also discuss some of the ethical implications. I think this training is going to be really interesting to come back and take a look at in a year as some of the AI evolution has happened and see if it's still as timely as it was. I really like this timeline. I think it goes through. And again, the idea behind this is that it's not technology in general, but this is the focus sort of on legal tech and how things have been going through from the 1970s. And the LexisNexis sort of stand alone terminal, which you can steal every once in a while, see images of those all the way to today with where we're seeing things going with AI and really that push that has expanded things even more. So it's. We've had, you know. Over 30 years of legal tech and where we've been going with it. But I think this is a really nice example of some of the transitions that we have gone through, you know, including some of the. Legal tech tools that are just embedded with some of the key companies that are out there like Lexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg, with regards to legal research that are using technology and AI functionality. So let's dive in here. Let's talk about some of the things with regards to technology and sort of those uses of technology and where there are particular companies that have gone out there or organizations that have gone out there and they've conducted some surveys. And one big one that happened, um, not that long ago from the whole lawyer group is this one where they said, you know, how much technology knowledge do you actually need within practice? And one of the thing that I thought was really interesting with this particular survey is that there was this feeling that you need to learn and use relevant technology effectively and that this was necessary in the short term. Um, and that, you know, I think with these sort of pieces, this is really telling about how technology use within practice really is key. I love this second data point as well, where it's saying leveraging technology in cases or projects to increase the value of sophistication of service and products. Right? We're not just using technology to get to, you know, a case anymore. The way we're using technology now is so that we can upgrade the level of service that we're providing to our clients or we're using it to become more efficient, or we're using it in a way that there's a specialty product that will make our lives easier as attorneys. And so I think that that's a really interesting piece of this as well. And that that knowledge is something that you're going to have to acquire, right? It isn't this immediate sort of short term knowledge that you can have. It's something that you're going to have to go out there and acquire. And by attending things like the Cle. So we all know rule 1.1 in common. Eight And the fact that it has been adopted in the majority of states within our country. But one of the things that I want to highlight here is unlike where when other people are doing legal technology trainings and they'll talk about rule point one and they talk about comment eight, and it's almost like but it's great because every, you know, most of the states have adopted it. Here's the thing that's really key that a lot of people don't talk about. Yes, we have many of the states that have adopted it, but the challenge with that is that they've adopted some form of it. So you have some states where the Supreme Court for that particular state has adopted Rule 1.1, but they may not have adopted the comments. Right? The comments are where the technology piece is. You may also have some states like Florida, where they've also made other additional requirements like participation in technology. So you need to keep that in mind. You can't just go based off of that language of Rule 1.1 or comment eight because that may not necessarily be the exact language that was adopted for your jurisdiction. So there are plenty of resources out there where you can find out specifically the language that was adopted that encompasses sort of this technology competency piece. And I highly recommend that you do that because as I mentioned, if it's if it is, you know, if they've adopted rule 1.1, but they haven't adopted that common eight, we really don't have that technology term in there. And there are some states that really are considering technology, just your basic word and not looking at advanced features like some of them that we're going to talk about today. All right. Some other rules that we need to keep in mind that are going to pop up throughout this training. We have confidentiality of information, right? We all know that we need to adhere to that as attorneys. And there are lots of different ways that you can. Sort of have this rule in conjunction to other things. Also, the other thing that the ABA obviously does is they are going to have these formal opinions that help to fine tune. I like to call these formal opinions. The majority of them came out during Covid, so they're sort of the Covid opinions and their guidelines to sort of fine tune when we all suddenly were in this remote environment and we had to think about that Rule 1.6, adhering to the confidential information at the same time that we were keeping in mind when we're in a remote practice, that level of what we need to do to adhere to confidentiality is going to be at a different place. Sometimes that's encrypted emails, sometimes that's VPNs, right? So we've got different tools, technology tools that will assist us even with that piece as well. All right. Um, there another thing that I think and this is sort of my overarching what I think's going to happen and that there are other organizations and groups as I've stayed sort of abreast of what's happening with technology is that we're going to start to see more and more of these positions that are going to have a legal tech focus. And because we're going to have these positions with a legal tech focus, I know that there are some folks at firms that are saying, well, we can let them do it right. They'll be the experts. It'll be like it. We bring in our legal tech lawyers. They're the ones that will use these tools. Well, the reality is these individuals that are going to come in and assist like this one particular title that I heard about was the associate of corporate counsel. Um, that, you know, in those cases their job is help to automate processes through technology. Their job is to help use legal technology to be more efficient in your practice. Um, but that it doesn't mean that you can't. You know, you can allow yourself to not be familiar with the technology. All right. So there are also some models out there that have been around since, you know, 2014 and a little bit before then is when we first started talking about the eye shape model and the T shape model, the Delta, and then the one that I really like a lot, as I mentioned, that survey that we saw on sort of the second slide was data that was gathered from the whole lawyer. And what they've done is they've actually come up with these foundations and learning outcomes, competencies and capabilities. And so many of them are tied directly to technology. So think if you are a person where you're thinking, I'm not really sure how to incorporate this technology into my practice, maybe I'm solo or small. I'm not using a lot of really high advanced tech. I feel like taking a look at the the whole lawyer foundations and when you look at them, you're really going to start to see how the foundations and competencies and capabilities really lend themselves to different technology products and that may be a way to kind of streamline and find a way to bring it into your particular practice in an easier way. Now, the other thing that's great with the whole lawyer is that they did actually go and get the opinions of over 24,000 lawyers, 36 legal employers and four law schools. So they were getting data from a lot of different folks about what the core competencies and capabilities needed to be. And again, you can align that really nicely with technology. And I say this because one of the things that they created was actually a hiring guide. And I think where we see a disconnect with legal technology right now is that when you're looking at job descriptions and I just have two job descriptions that are listed here real quick, but when we look at job descriptions, we're seeing that the contract positions are very specific with the legal technology needs and the legal technology knowledge that you have to have. But then when we look at those litigation type positions where we know technology is important for it, there's very little discussion about the specific tech that is required. And so again, I want to lay that groundwork because some of the things that I'm going to mention, you may have heard of some of them you may not have, but they're all things that you need to consider because even though it may not listed in that job description, you really do need to be familiar with all aspects of this technology that we're going to talk about today. All right. Oh, and I also mentioned with the whole lawyer again, if you want to take a look at that foundation hiring guide, it was published in April of 2021. And there's a lot of really helpful info in there. Some examples that I was mentioning with the foundation and how it can align to technology competency. They have a category there that's on basic communication, right? So their foundation is proactive, proactively providing status updates. Then that aligns really nicely with, with, you know, sending emails, texts, using Microsoft office tools, an intranet, an extra net, you know, ways that you're going to communicate with your clients all the way down to if you look at, you know, sort of that cooperative and collaborative, you know, there were using depending on what your firm has Slack, Microsoft teams Zoom, SharePoint to name just a few of the the different tech tools that are out there. So again, when you look at those foundations, you're going to really nicely see, hey, here are places where maybe I've already brought in technology into my firm, or here's some other areas where I could add some efficiency by using some of these tech tools. Another secular section of category was legal practice. And there we've got some of those foundational practices, things like drafting contracts and agreements. Again, we've got some of these great tools out there like Microsoft Office, Hot Docs, contract management systems, legal databases that provide templates, right? So we've got all of these sort of work product things that are necessary for the legal practice. And there are already all of these really wonderful technology tools out there that we can quickly use to incorporate to make our lives more efficient. Now, this was a great survey that came out a few years ago, and this was global legal departments benchmarking report. And what I really like about this is they tried, you know, with the foundations. I was mentioning some of those tools that we can then say, hey, you know, for contracting, this is a tool you would want for e-discovery. This is a tool you might want. But I really like this survey because it does talk about the ways in which people are using technology and in some cases the different sort of sectors of law where, you know, if we're looking at contract management, we have a very we have a very transactionally based firm, then we're looking at document management, we're looking at contract management, we're looking at e-signatures. Everyone should be looking at e-billing, right? If we have more of a focus on e-discovery, that's where we're using some other tools. So again, we're seeing the places at least and again, this is 2019 when the survey came out. So I'm sure our numbers might be different today as we've gone through most of the remote work. But I think this is a really nice job of sort of saying, hey, these are the basics sort of based on your firm that and the kind of practice that you're in of the technology that you should be rolling out. All right. So let's start with electronic signatures, right? That was a big one for us. Thinking about it from the law point of view, there are a couple of acts that we need to be aware of, right. So we've got the United States electronic signature and Global and National Commerce Act. That was in 2000. And then we had the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act. That was in 1999. So we do have certain requirements that are based for both that we have to keep in mind, right? So you need to be aware of your intent to sign. There has to be the consent to do business electronically. And one thing to keep in mind is that there are different restrictions. So like consumers actually, you're going to they're going to require some other special consideration. So you may be having to do additional levels of consent and then you have to have that association of the signature with the record itself. And then you're going to have to have these rules with records and retention. There are both federal and state regulations, so you got to be aware of that. But here's the wonderful thing with e-signatures. You're going to avoid having to schedule and attend another meeting, right? So it's just time and efficiency. So you have the opportunity to send something out to someone following all of those rules and guidelines where it can be sent out on the same day and then you can get that signature back, you know, potentially in that same day or the next day, depending on what that form is or document that you're asking them to sign, you're going to reduce basic costs, right? So we have printing having to do with shipping, things like that. You're going to actually make your clients really happy because, you know, say if they're in a situation where you're you're downtown, your office is downtown, they're in the suburbs and they're not having to trek all the way in to do those signatures. They're going to save that travel time. They're not going to have to pay to mail things back. Right? So you have those things that are really nice. The other thing, too, is most of the e-signature platforms, there is additional enhanced security with regards to checking for forged signatures or identity theft. And so there are several companies out there, obviously, and tools that you can use, but a number of them are going to have different levels of enhanced security so that a lot of clients appreciate that as well. So what are some of the ethic issues? Right. So we already talked about 1.1 and common eight and 1.6, that confidentiality of information. Anytime you are sending things through the electronic means, you need to be aware of your security. You need to be aware of what you already have set up in place. Right? So it is one of those that we just need to keep that in mind. Another piece that I will say, and this is sort of I'm going to throw this in here because I think a lot of people forget about this. Make sure to have your updating your all of your devices, because if you are, you know, three, 4 or 5 updates back and unfortunately, there are some folks out there that are doing that, you have just opened the door to some major security issues. All right. Using tech in contracts. Right. So we've got these options now with contract drafting. There's going to be software out there to assist with contract workflow, document management, collaboration, negotiations, review and approval. You can do all of that with the different types of software that's out there. The other thing that's great with a lot of these software programs is that you will be able to have a centralized repository. Everything is there. There are different functionalities. You can have auto redlining, which is being used for AI. We could be have clause comparison programs, right? There are a lot of different tools. You can take time to make use of them, learn how to use them, and then it's going to help your drafting so much. The other thing too, that I'm going to say, don't forget about this, right? Like word has a lot of really great tools with the basics templates, permission styles you could do block text, you can use the developer tab and you can actually automate some stuff using macros. So right, we've got a lot of these. You don't have to pay for a high fancy product. You can actually use word and use some of those tools to be able to modify using basic legal tech for better efficiency. All right. Now, contract automation software that is using AI. Right. This is going to give us to another level. This is when we're looking at some of that natural language processing. Oftentimes it's going to be text based, right? We're dealing with deep learning algorithms. And basically what it's doing is it's extracting the information and it's then going to allow you to generate content. There are a couple different ways that this can happen. This can be happening in more of a chat bot sort of feeling. So we've got this questionnaire based content. You have the potential of inputting past document content and then having it summarize or compare or even draft like you. In some ways you need to be aware of those tools that are available. And the reality is when we're using these contract automation softwares that are manipulating and making use of AI is that it truly simplifies that drafting process because you can usually get a decent first draft and then you're going in and you're fine tuning and you're cleaning things up. So let's talk about a little bit of do's and don'ts when we're dealing with generative AI products, right? Because there are a lot of tools out there. You got to be aware that you can't rely on that output, right? Um, you also need to know that the sources and references, depending on the tool you're using, if it's connected to the Internet, if it's not connected to the Internet, right, you're going to get different outcomes. There may be time restrictions. And then you always need to be aware of the additional level of ethical implication when working with AI. Now there are some contracts, compliance things that we need to be aware of, right? So we have to manage that contract data for recording and standardizing provisions. So we need to make sure that we're being compliant with that. There may be also retention issues and then there are different states. You know, I only actually have here we've got the GRP, so that's looking internationally. Then we've also got the California Consumer Privacy Act. And then there are also a number of states that are passing privacy laws, although some of them are not going into effect. I noticed there was one that passed a couple of days ago that's not going into effect until 2025. But we need to keep those that in line as well so that we're ensuring that we're adhering to those rules and that we're protecting the individuals and their data. And in some cases, those retention rules are going to be slightly different as well. All right. So some other things that we need to consider with specifically the GDPR and the GDPR is the inclusion of necessary clauses or provisions. So again, we're looking at data protection, consent that we get the required consent that data retention guidelines and then tracking the dates related to data compliance. So when did you do that consent? Is it, you know, the renewal of those deadlines if necessary? And then, you know, keeping keeping all of that in mind is going to be key. So what are some of the efficiencies that we get from this? Right. There's a great Harvest Business Review article that talked about the inefficiency of contract and that between 5 and 40% of the value of a given deal can be lost when you have an inefficient contract process. Right? So we want to one of the things that's nice, this is going to help you to stay consistent in the contract itself with terms and definitions. It's going to help you with your statistics. You'll also be able to identify, you know, maybe we end up with this bottleneck, right? It always goes to to Sam and Sam. It takes them a real long time to sign off on that contract. Right? We'll be able to see that with the data and statistics with some of this contract management systems that they have in place, which can be a really, really helpful. So you can see, oh, this is where it always gets bogged down in the process of our contract life cycle. All right. So some other efficiencies we're going to be able to process that data for the contract faster. We're going to be formulating generated text. So actually drafting that contract or drafting templates that will be used later will be even more efficient. That contract amendment process to can be streamlined by comparing and redlining. It is going to be a little bit more cost effective and this can come in a couple of different ways. But mostly it's if we're using these tools correctly, right, there are less human resources being spent on it because they're more doing the fine tuning after the fact. We do reduce that risk of human error. That happens sometimes. So there are a lot of really valuable efficiencies that we can find when we're using the contract management systems that are out there, specifically software, or even if they've got that AI ethics that we need to keep in mind. You know, obviously privacy and confidentiality anytime we're working with a third party vendor and we're going to talk about a different some different third party vendors that are out there, terms and conditions are key. Now, specifically when we're talking about AI and we're talking about some of the generative AI tools that are out there, we have to be aware of intellectual property rights because many of the terms and connectors of these third party vendors will specifically say you are personally liable if you violate the copyright of an individual, if that output that you create ends up being something that is an IP violation, you are personally liable and the AI company is not. So that's something to be aware of. Read those terms and connectors with these different AI tools that are coming out because there's a lot of restrictions in there that can really get you. Okay. And the other thing, too, you know, some clients really like is there there's this idea that and where we need to be aware from an ethics point of view, there's this there, you know, AI and some of these efficiency tools are going to help us to save on fees. But in turn, that means that your fees must be reasonable based on the work that you are doing. So keep that in mind. That's a that's a potential ethics issue that could arise. And then, of course, you want to avoid assisting in the unauthorized practice of law. And what I mean by this is somebody might say, well, you can do, you know, non-lawyer, you can do the first draft of this. You still have to be the person as the attorney that is signing off on this. So be really careful about that. Right. You don't want to be authorizing an office worker to be practicing law because you're making use of these efficiency tools. All right. We're going to do a real quick blockchain and bitcoin because it is something that, you know, before I everybody was talking about this, right? And before generative AI, everybody was talking about this and how it could be, you know, it's going to save, save all of these transactions. Well, here's a nice little basic visual I really like. But the idea right between blockchain is that we've got these pieces, we've got the encryption piece, we have that decentralization piece, and then we've got the proof of work piece. And this is where we start getting into Bitcoin. And the idea behind this process, right, is that it's going to be a very secure way for you to be able to have these transactions transpire. There's a lot of work that goes into them, but much of this work is set up so that that private information is not going to get out there. Now there are many applications for using blockchain. We're seeing it in smart contracts, especially IP transactions, authentications, registration. It can be a tool used for that. There are corporate filings. In fact, Delaware amended its law to allow companies to maintain their corporate records using blockchain technology. Real estate transactions are starting to hear some about that and cybersecurity area. And then one thing that I thought was really interesting in relationship to things like Bitcoin, we're starting to see wills, trusts and estates having to now address this sort of on the back end. Yes, it's a helpful tool for them, but also thinking about the electronic, you know, they now have this electronic money and sort of that aspect of it. And so that I found really interesting. There's been some interesting things being written about that right now. All right. Some legal analytics, right? Legal analytics are amazing tool. You can use them in a lot of different ways. But one of the key ways that we can use this to apply this legal data is that we can use it for data analysis. We can use it for statistical modeling, we can use it for machine learning techniques, right? So legal and legal analysis, legal analytics can be a really helpful tool to provide us with information that then is going to allow us in our firm to be more data driven with our choices, right. Or in a particular case. So if we want to use these, you know, the the information and the results that we get from this data analysis, some of the places where we can do that is looking at litigation strategy, right? Being taking a look at being risk averse or have risk management. So thinking about a particular case and taking the data historically of the outcomes of that case and being able to give a case prediction to a client so that they you know, it's less of a, hey, this is based off of, you know, historically it would be this is based off of my time and practice. This is what I think. But now you can have numbers to support that dialogue and be able to make your clients more informed about whether or not is this a case that we definitely want to go to trial? Is this a case where we want to try to settle? Um, and then from a legal research point of view, it really can help you for those of you again, that are using. Westlaw, Lexus, Bloomberg. You may have noticed that it's those tools have always kind of used legal analytics in the last the recent years. But we're also seeing now where with legal research it can help you because it can give you, um, judicial sort of this is what happens with this particular Judge X number of times. But what I've been talking to my students about is from a legal writing point of view is not only can you, Yes. Get that data point, but you can then take that data point and say, oh, well, the the only time this judge let in an expert witness, then use that data point and find the docket and see what was filed, why that expert witness was the only one that was allowed in when they historically say no. Right. Or look at what do the briefs, what language do the briefs contain that that, you know, the judge tends to be ruling on this way. So I you know, I would say take it take those legal analytics for the data notes to be able to communicate, but also think about the ways you can use that data point to then get to docket information, get to the filings on that case and really look at the language that that particular judge seems to resonate with them. And you can maybe sometimes modify the language that you're going to use in your own text for filing in front of that particular judge. So yeah, you can use those legal analytics, but you can also take it a step further to help you with your practice. And there's a 2020 study that was conducted by Lexis and, and thought this was really interesting. So 96% found legal analytics useful for predicting likely outcomes for strategies or arguments, right? 94% found legal analytics helpful in case assessment. And then 92% of the participants said they plan to increase their legal analytics usage within the next 12 months. So if we think about 22, that was sort of 20 sorry, 2020, that was kind of that heart of of Covid time period. We had a lot of people using legal analytics, but that I really don't think has gone away. I think that it's only going to continue. All right. So now let's talk about legal and business analytics, right? So one of the other things, too, that we can think about with these analytics is that, yes, it can help you with your legal, but it can also help you in general with your practice. You as a firm, you have a lot of data, right? And there are actually companies out there that if you're somebody who you don't necessarily want to do the analysis, but you have that data, you can work with them. Or there are also companies out there that will give you dashboards so that you can actually they'll help you to collect that data and then analyze it. So obviously we can take a look and we can see motion outcomes. You know, do you have a situation where you've got two individuals and every time they go in front of this one particular judge, they always lose their motions or they always win their motions, Right. Those are that's information that you can track. I already talked a little bit about judge language preferences, which I just find to be a really helpful tool. You can think about forecasting those settlement amounts, right? Because you've got that data. You can analyze those historical trends within your particular firm. Or even if we think about when money was coming into the firm, what is the trends with that particular data? You can track that analytics and see why do you have certain spikes at certain times of year? Um, you can also look at automating, as I mentioned, that firm data retrieval with different software tools that are out there. And then another piece of this, you know, if you've seen office space, you may be familiar with the phrase keep the KPIs, but key performance indicators, having a good dashboard at your firm, even if you are a solo, honestly, to just track like are you if you're having one of those days where you feel like you're not getting stuff done and then you go back and you're like, Oh, you know what? I've got these things that were my key performance indicators that show this is all the stuff I did today can be really, really helpful. Another thing that's great with these products that are out there right now is many of them are real time data. Right? So you could in a moment take a look and see what's happening and then also drill down depending on how large your firm is. So you could have it at the firm level, the practice group or even the attorney level. So, you know, take a look at those different products that are out there because they're incredibly helpful. Okay. So what's the efficiency piece of this cost savings? You're going to save time on all of these different things, everything from, you know, legal research to knowing what what your staff needs to work, how many staff needs you have on a particular case. So one that I really like that again, I'm a big HR person. I like to make my people happy. So keeping in mind that by using some of these efficiency tools, people are having to do less of the like, mundane tasks that are out there. And when you do that, it's going to make people happier, right? There are people that, you know, your your newer associates that tend to not be able to work with clients may be working with being able to have the opportunity to sit with a partner or work with the client. So there's more opportunity when you start to use these efficiencies. All right. So we got to be aware of 1.1. We already talked about that, but now we're bringing it 1.4, right? So client communication is also going to be really important here because we must communicate the client if we are using their data to develop an analytic tool or receive informed consent, right? So we've got to make sure that that is happening. So if we are at a firm where we're developing our own efficiency tools and we're using the data from our clients to do that, we have to remember to tell them about it. Client Informed consent. We already chatted a little bit about that and then that client property, right? So we have to be protective of the client's property. And we also need to be aware that there have been rulings out there that say clients property is actually data as well. So we have to safeguard that client data with care like it is like we are professional fiduciary, so we need to be aware of that. Okay. Some of the technology tools for firm processing efficiency, right? There's time tracking software out there. There's automated billing and invoicing software out there. There's legal payment software out there. So all of these are going to help with your efficiency. Some of them will be all rolled into one where you'll have a firm case management system where it's all already there. Sometimes you can piecemeal this stuff. Here's the big thing. If you are going to piecemeal these particular items, you want to make sure that the technology plays together. That is my number one advice, right? When you're building your tech stack, make sure that everything plays together. All right. There's also legal accounting software. Automated client intake forms are out there. Conflict checking software. This is a big one, right? That's out there. When we take advantage of these tools, it's going to go across everything and potentially identify even more conflict checks than historically we thought were going to be present. And then obviously, you got to be doing that cloud based document management. Pretty much everybody's moved to to the cloud for your documents. That's the safest place for you to be, right? And then legal calendaring software 100% make use of it. Find a tool, though, that is real time and syncs across your devices. Right? You want for everybody to be able to know what's going on. So that syncing is key. Client portals, right? This saves you time with communication. It allows you to address that. Client communication allows for secure actions, messaging, case updates, documents, invoices. As well as being able to have Q and A's on there where you can answer their information. I personally think one of the best things to do is to have some type of a client portal. It may be an intranet that you're using SharePoint, right? You may already have the tools in your Microsoft Suite to build this, or you may want to go outside and find some other tech company to do it. Or it may just be a simple add on right to a package that you already currently have. But having a client portal will save you a lot of time and makes your clients happy, right? All right. So what do we need to be aware of with ethics? Okay. Payment is now coming here. Obviously, the you know, the 1.1 and all of those are going to apply throughout. But I want to highlight a couple other ones. Right? So we need to make sure that with regards to payments, we're being compliant with the guidelines that are out there. And then with trust account management, right? So if we're moving everything online, we have to be compliant with those state bar regulations. When we're dealing with trust accounts, we have to adhere to what those rules and guidelines are. And so you need to be aware of that. This is another place where I'm going to say those outside vendors make sure to look at their terms and connectors, right? So or sorry, terms and conditions, because this may be a place where they are not at the level of security that is necessary for your particular jurisdiction. And that takes me to data breaches, right? So 2023, we had a lot of data breaches that occurred. And it didn't matter how big your firm was. Right? We had small firms and large firms in July, just this summer, we had a big class action suit that was filed after the breach. We're seeing more and more law firms and where these cyber attacks are happening. And one of the big things with it is because there's so much privacy data, there's financial data, there's so much that is of value to these hackers. That's why they're going in for it, right. When that cyber attack happens, that's what they're trying to get. Um. This was an interesting stat was that one in every 40 cyber attack targeted a law firm or an insurance provider. That was some research that was done by check point. Thought that was really interesting. Right? Because if you think about those two, you know, professions, when we're looking at insurance and law firms, there's so much personal identification information that someone could turn around and sell on the dark web really easily. And then this, I thought was really interesting, this particular data breach report, if you haven't seen it or heard about it, a lot of people have been writing and talking about it. But the amount, the cost when you got this data breach and so the average cost of a data breach reaches up to 4.24 million, which was really interesting. And that also in connection with the data point of half the breached organizations are not increasing their cybersecurity budget. And I just to me that seems like such a potential ethical violation. So I'm just going to leave that there. But I think we need to be aware of data breach and that we can use technology to help us prevent that, right? That multi-factor authentication, that is the least that you can do, right? Um, there's encryption for your files, for your emails, there's malware protection, there's blockchain, which we talked about making sure to make use of VPNs, right? It is no longer the days and not, unfortunately, it wasn't too long ago where people would go into Starbucks and use a VPN and be using the free Wi-Fi. Yeah, we can't do that. And also make sure to advise if you have students working for you, um, and internships, externships, right. Make sure that they know what these rules and guidelines are because, you know, sometimes I see the students all the time. They don't really understand data breaches, they don't understand how they can occur. And so really spelling out to them what they're allowed to do and not do is going to be really important. Cloud based technologies out there to help. And then you can also actually outsource. And I thought this was really interesting. You can actually outside outsource that infrastructure. So they'll come in a few times a year and actually tell you, Hey, here's where you're vulnerable, right? Here's something that you need to be aware of. Um, the other thing that I think will help you a lot and it really isn't a technology necessarily thing, but it does relate to technology is you can actually have an incident response plan. So like be prepared, right? We know sometimes these data breaches happen, they happen at different levels. Sometimes it's a small breach, sometimes it's a large breach. But having an incident response plan that has all of these pieces that are listed here on this slide really will help you a lot. Um, if it unfortunately, if it occurs at your firm. Okay. Law firm communication tools. There are lots of tools out here. This again, this was another survey that was out there of information that was available. I find it really interesting. Again, this is 2020, 21, 2022, 2022 Microsoft teams. Right. We're at 42% of folks are using that. We're planning on implementing it, but we're seeing some of the other companies in there as well, really that extreme of like 2021 for zoom in to 2022. Um, I think that's a, you know, a really interesting thing. A jump that we're seeing there as well. Okay. So we hopefully are not in the days of the I'm not a cat, Your Honor. We all know what happened with that one particular attorney. If you're not familiar with it, there is a YouTube link so you can take a look at it. But we all know that there are going to be positives and negatives when we're dealing with virtual and remote. There are really wonderful things like it is now allowing for client meetings, mediation. So many mediations are occurring now via remote, so you've got to be aware there are some rules and guidelines that are going to come into play when you're using these tools as well as just sort of some general best practices that I'm going to share with you here. Okay? So it is key to understand the different platforms, right? And some of them are going to be better for your needs than others. Maybe you need breakout rooms. Maybe you need to have a different levels of security. Right. You're going to have with these different products, you're going to have all of these different things. And the free option isn't necessarily going to be the best option for you. But in some cases, the free option may work. Okay. Some other virtual best practices, right? We always want to sign in early. And if some of this this is old hat, but then others, they're not necessarily as familiar. What I would say as a general rule to I'm going to sign in early, I'm going to keep in mind all of these things, especially when I'm on a different platform than I historically have used, because I don't know what kind of updates are necessary. I don't know what I need to know with regards to the setting or background or any of that. So as some of these other tools are being used, keep that in mind, right? That going in a little bit early. If it's a tool that you're not, you know, maybe you always use Zoom and now you're going into WebEx, sign in a little early and play with it and see what you can do. Um. You always want to be aware of who controls that lobby, right? Like especially if you're the person giving the presentation because there may be sounds. Who's letting people in? You don't want to have somebody, you know, hanging out there in that lobby. Um. I'm a big fan of. If you're not screen sharing, just disable it, right? Anything that you can to streamline that process. The other thing too, that I would say, and this is something that I've found with doing different presentations as well as being guest lecturers in different people's classrooms. If I come in and talk about legal technology virtually, I like to know what's the preference right, for that online meeting? Is it something where it's on or off? Just being prepared for that can allow you to be more comfortable? Say if you're joining a meeting and everybody else has their cameras off and you're not as used to that. And so that's always a question I ask and it's just a good, good best practices. I have some guidance here too, if you want to sort of take that next step up with how you're developing your virtual practice. So here are some tools that you can use and purchase. One last thing I'm going to say is be aware of jewelry and jewelry that you're wearing and whether or not it makes noise because with some of these higher end products, that mic noise will be picked up really easily. And. Potentially cause a whole bunch of clicking for folks. Um. Lighting. I've got some recommendations and some guidelines for using lights. And I'm flipping through some of this because we really are very comfortable with these conversations. But again, if you're looking to upgrade your tools, here are some of the things that you might want to look at and some of the companies out there that can help you sort of upgrade some of that. Um. As I mentioned before, we had a few of these formal opinions that came out that were very specific to that virtual practice and working remotely. And so if you're not as familiar with those opinions, I would go back and take a look at them, right? They're going to deal with some of these core responsibilities that we as lawyers need to be aware of from an ethical point of view. All right. Chernovi. Right. We're getting towards the end. But I want to highlight this because this is a hot topic for everyone. Um, so one of the big things with generative AI, right, is that it is going to be a subset of AI. A lot of people conflate these concepts, right? They're saying they're the same thing. Know when we're dealing with generative AI, we're dealing with machine learning, but it's the way in which they the information is being generated based off of the that it and how it was trained. Right. That's why we're kind of dealing with generative AI. And so one of the things that I wanted to highlight is this, especially when we're looking at ChatGPT and OpenAI, which is what most of the buzz has been about, right, is that we it's only been around for a fairly short period of time. So here you know, it ChatGPT. Came out from opening I November 30th, 2020. Right. And then they gained 100 million users by January. And then the other thing that I want to be aware of because again, people conflate the idea of sort of open an AI and ChatGPT as being just this one thing. And it's important to remember that OpenAI is both an AI and a research company, right? So they're conducting research and doing research that then led us to this AI and generative AI product. So some people get confused when we start putting out those terms like generative. I saw this at a conference, thought it was the best way to explain it, right? If I say Jack and Jill went up the hill. You are already thinking about. The Hill part. So if I was like Jack and Jill went up, your brain is thinking the hill. That's what generative AI is doing. It is looking for the patterns of where your speech would go traditionally based on the knowledge that it has. So if the knowledge is Jack and Jill went up, you're going to put in the Hill. So what is right This is that AI powered chat from OpenAI. It's going to respond to these open ended text queries. And from that, you know, you're going to be able to answer questions. It will assist with tasks, it will compose emails, essays, it will compose code. So making a huge difference with regards to coding and hiring coders, right? That is one industry. Everybody's talking about the issues that it may bring to the legal profession who coding coders out there. They're a little nervous about some of these some of this because you only need to hire have 1 or 2 folks that understand it instead of an entire team. So it's got a lot of this great functionality. When we look at again, this was a Thomson Reuters study should ChatGPT generative AI be applied to legal work? We are seeing work, yeah. Yes, it should be, right. We're seeing this sort of overwhelming piece where they're saying that it should be being used. So big picture, how can it help your firm? So the firm that is going to adopt generative AI, they are going to be seen as being innovative. They're forward thinking. Some of the other things that people have been talking about with generative AI, right. It's going to equalize. You no longer have to hire a PR team in theory, right? That small folks can use the generative AI tools to create PR material posts, blogs, then they fine tune it so it saves them time. So this potentially is a really great equalizer out there from a hiring point of view. Some folks have been saying, hey, this is an opportunity for. We're not going to have to clients aren't going to have to pay for training new associates on things because they're going to be able to use these tools for that basic drafting and then they do fine tuning or they'll use these tools for automation, where historically we were having brand new associates do those things from a talent point of view, right? We go back to that idea of those mundane tasks, those automated tasks. They are no longer having to be done by humans. People are happier about this. Some other uses in your firms. Some specific uses. You get that solid first draft, as I mentioned, on briefs, contracts, lots of things. And you can put in a base, you can put in a set of facts and then it's going to give you back information. You can draft RFPs, we can go in and it will synthesize large amounts of data. Remember, we want to keep in mind those terms and conditions, though, when we put this data into a tool like ChatGPT. They say they will potentially, if you don't opt out, those conversations and dialogues, that private information is then now in this third party resource. So you have now, um, not protected the confidentiality of that data of your client. Right. So we got to remember that, um, you can actually upload different contracts into some of the AI tools and then it's going to actually, you could say, tell me the similarities or the differences so you can have it analyze spreadsheet data so you can actually submit a bunch of different pages for spreadsheets and you can say, um, you can ask it to provide you back. What are you seeing? Trends. So again, sometimes it's based on the question that you ask and you've got to fine tune that question, but you can actually ask it. Are you seeing repeated behavior? Are you seeing trends in this data? And it is things that you may not have seen on your own. You can also get plain language answers for legal chats. And I've actually heard of there are a few law firms now that are using it as their basic chat bot to gather and do basic intake before the individual is your client. All right. Here's some other pros and cons that are out there. I do find one of the things that is interesting is that some of the cons people have said, well, it's actually too perfect. The writing is too clean and some clients haven't really liked that side of it. So you've got to make sure that on that second pass you are actually putting in more of your tonality that they're familiar with because you shouldn't ever just take the language and you always want to want to modify it, right? It's just a draft when it's when it's the chat language. Okay. Other ways that it can be used. Or I'm sorry how it cannot be used. Let me be more specific with that. Is that the the humans using it are the ones that need to be aware of the accuracy. Right. We're the ones that need to edit it. It's also not going to fix citations. It's not going to know specific terms or know a narrative. Right? So we need to be aware of those pieces as well. But there are going to. Be some specific benefits when it comes to particular types of practice. So again, when we're thinking about ROI with corporate right, we have automation, productivity, data driving decisions, knowledge management generation, we're going to get client communication that we will be able to communicate to control a little bit easier as well as risk management mitigation. And then obviously the cost savings of the work itself not taking as long. So you have the potential of either taking on more clients or some have even said that one of the benefits of AI is that it's actually going to make access to justice a little bit better because you'll have more firms taking on pro bono work. I would love to see that. I mentioned how you could use AI to help you within the legal market. So let's talk about a couple of these things, right? You can actually use an AI tool to make sure that your branding is consistent, right? That you have messaging that's consistent logo slogans that are consistent. You can have very targeted content too, that can be written and developed. You can say, I want this particular message or blog to have this type of an audience and it will redraft things that way. Sometimes you have trouble figuring out how to start that email, right? Or that social media post, so you can use it to help to start you and then again refining from there. Here are some of the emerging uses. Right? So obviously we've got the drafting, the summarizing. Um. E-discovery and the technology assisted review. There are so many every day. There is an AI e-discovery article out there. So it is going to make I mean, it's already helping with e-discovery, but we're seeing even more as we're looking at generative AI litigation. We have deposition summaries that it can help with contracts, IP, legal operations, so lots and lots of uses for it. So here are some of the challenges that we need to be aware of, right? So we have privacy and cyber security challenges. We have client concerns that we need to be aware of, Right. But putting their information into it, there are some potential issues that could arise with scalability. We need to be aware of challenges that are going to arise with adoption of these AI tools. So there's privacy and cybersecurity that we've talked about with putting that information into it, as well as client and HR concerns. They happy with the communication. If it is AI or chatbot driven, right? Are they happy with it? Are we putting their private information in to a product? And that is, um, you know, obviously not allowed under our ethical rules, their scalability. So you've got folks who will say, Hey, I will use this for a pilot project, but then how potentially could this roll out for the entire law firm? Obviously, issues with accuracy. We all know and have heard of some of the problems that have popped up in Texas as well as in New York. Um, and then there's ethics and compliance issues that we've talked about. Um, oh, sorry. Got a little click happy there. Um, and then one thing too, you want to make sure that whatever you're adopting is working well within your tech stack and what potential investment, if you're having to purchase a tool instead of using a free tool. Some other things that especially in the e-discovery world that they're a little worried about with AI is when we're dealing with forensics and deep fakes and whether or not, you know, can a system actually tell whether or not it is truly a deep fake when it is something that is created by AI? So some of these other ethical considerations, we need to be aware of bias. Obviously, fairness. Anytime you're dealing with algorithms, you have to be aware of that accuracy, right? We have to be doing our due diligence. We're continuing to communicate. We're transparent about how we're using the tools with our clients. Privacy issues that are going to arise. Obviously, with the data, we've chatted a lot about that. And then there's legal responsibility and accountability. So you have to make sure that you're being very clear about the line of responsibility and accountability when you are implementing AI tools, right? So making sure that folks know where that line is of practicing law and where you need to take over as the attorney. So just be aware of that and then depending on your jurisdiction, there could be other ethics opinions that you need to adhere to that are state specific. Personal data usage, right. So there were some of these particular privacy acts and things that you needed to be aware of with information, copyright infringement. So this, as I mentioned with the AI, especially ChatGPT and the outputs, as it says here you are, the user is legally responsible. We need to be aware of that. That is something that I think there are a lot of people talking about and we just really you got to read those terms and connectors for any of these new generative AI tools that are out there. Um, eDiscovery. We talked about the value of it, but here are some real highlights of how it can save folks so much time and money when properly used. One of the. As I mentioned, that challenge of working with the deepfakes is those manipulated media files. Is it real information that you are collecting from an eDiscovery point of view or is that machine generated? That's going to be a real challenge, I think, moving forward. But one of the things that this is going to help with with eDiscovery and I think will be really nice, is there was this data point that came out that said, you know, by 2025, data creation will exceed 180 zettabytes. And so if we think about that data volume and e-discovery and how much data is now used in a case, having a tool to parse that, to be able to show you trends, to be able to quickly look at that with less error, is I think going to really just assist with e-discovery in cases immensely. We also need to obviously mention that AI is not right. Everyone's heard about hallucination cases, hallucination, situations where they are making facts or making up articles that don't exist or cases that don't exist. You need to be aware of that. And then the other thing that you need to be aware of is that what some of what these tools are doing and this is also where not only reading the terms and conditions, but also knowing how it was created can help you because there are tools out there that are designed they are systematically scraping the Internet for that information that then is being spit out for whatever product you need, your output that you're creating, and that that information oftentimes with the Internet was obtained without consent. Right? So that in itself the products may have a potential violation. So just be aware of that. With the Internet based generative AI tools. And thank you, everyone. I know that that was a whirlwind where we started with, you know, e-signatures and we ended up with generative AI. And like I said, it'll be interesting to see a year from now what new technology trends we have out there.

Presenter(s)

KBJ
Katie Brown, JD
Associate Dean for Information Resources
Charleston School of Law

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                                                                                                                                Available until
                                                                                                                                Status
                                                                                                                                Pending
                                                                                                                                Credits
                                                                                                                                • 1.0 ethics
                                                                                                                                Available until

                                                                                                                                September 26, 2025 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                                                                Status
                                                                                                                                Approved
                                                                                                                                Credits
                                                                                                                                  Available until
                                                                                                                                  Status
                                                                                                                                  Not Eligible
                                                                                                                                  Credits
                                                                                                                                  • 1.0 ethics
                                                                                                                                  Available until

                                                                                                                                  September 26, 2025 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                                                                  Status
                                                                                                                                  Approved
                                                                                                                                  Credits
                                                                                                                                    Available until
                                                                                                                                    Status
                                                                                                                                    Pending
                                                                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                                                                      Available until
                                                                                                                                      Status
                                                                                                                                      Not Eligible
                                                                                                                                      Credits
                                                                                                                                        Available until
                                                                                                                                        Status
                                                                                                                                        Not Eligible
                                                                                                                                        Credits
                                                                                                                                          Available until
                                                                                                                                          Status
                                                                                                                                          Pending

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