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### AI Billing Policies and Disclosure of California Bar Passes

The California Bar on Thursday approved new guidelines for lawyers using artificial intelligence, m…

The California Bar has recently approved new regulations for lawyers utilizing artificial intelligence, positioning the state at the forefront nationally in terms of ethical guidance on the technology’s use in the legal field.

During a meeting of the California Bar’s Board of Trustees, Erika Doherty, the program director, noted that this approval marks a significant milestone as it is the first AI product endorsed by a governmental agency specifically for attorneys.

She emphasized the benefit of providing attorneys with access to such technology while acknowledging the challenge of its continual evolution, necessitating regular updates.

Outlined in the best practices manual, attorneys are advised to inform their clients about the utilization of relational AI and are discouraged from billing clients for time saved. Furthermore, professionals are urged to ensure that AI-generated outcomes are scrutinized for errors and discrimination.

The professional conduct committee responsible for drafting these guidelines described the approval as an interim measure to offer guidance on this advancing technology while further rules and regulations are under consideration.

In light of relational AI, the recommendations also suggest a reevaluation of the concept of the “unauthorized practice of law” by state lawmakers and the California Supreme Court.

While acknowledging the potential of AI to bridge the justice gap, the committee cautioned that overreliance on AI-generated information by self-represented individuals could lead to misinformation and harm.

Several state bars, including the Florida Bar, are collaborating on AI guidelines as well. The Florida Bar’s ethics commission recently released recommendations advising attorneys to obtain client consent before employing AI technologies, particularly in cases involving sensitive data. The commission also stressed the importance of human oversight of AI outputs and addressed ethical billing practices for lawyers utilizing generative AI.

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Last modified: February 24, 2024
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