ABA Journal

"Generative artificial intelligence—which can generate new content based on a prompt—has the potential to “dramatically improve the efficiency of a lawyer’s practice,” but it also can pose ethical concerns, according to a Florida Bar ethics opinion approved Jan. 19.

One of the pitfalls is that generative AI can “hallucinate” or create “inaccurate answers that sound convincing,” the opinion says, citing an October 2023 article from ABAJournal.com.

Because of the concerns, lawyers using generative AI should develop policies for reasonable oversight of the technology, the opinion says.

“Lawyers are ultimately responsible for the work product that they create regardless of whether that work product was originally drafted or researched by a nonlawyer or generative AI,” the opinion says.

The opinion also warns that lawyers may not delegate any act that could constitute the practice of law to generative AI. Acts that can’t be delegated would include the negotiation of claims or other functions that require a lawyer’s personal judgment and participation.

Nonlawyers are allowed to conduct initial interviews with a prospective client, but using an “overly welcoming” generative AI chatbot for this function could pose problems, the opinion says. The chatbot could wrongly offer legal advice, fail to identify itself as a chatbot at the outset, and fail to include disclaimers limiting formation of an attorney-client relationship.

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