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**Voting on Disclosure, Billing, and AI Guidelines by California Bar**

A California State Bar committee is calling for state lawmakers to consider regulations on non-lawy…

The California State Bar Commission is recommending that state legislators consider regulations concerning the non-legal utilization of authentic AI products and providing guidance for attorneys leveraging these technologies. The Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct of the California Bar is poised to propose guidelines this year on the use of relational AI by California lawyers, encompassing aspects such as reporting and ethical considerations.

The integration of advanced legal tools like conceptual AI holds the promise of expanding access to justice by enabling the provision of pro bono or low-cost legal assistance to underserved individuals. Nonetheless, the committee cautions that while conceptual AI can narrow the justice gap, it also carries risks if individuals representing themselves rely on potentially inaccurate outputs.

To address concerns regarding the unauthorized practice of law and the oversight of legitimate conceptual AI solutions, the committee is urging collaboration between the board of trustees, the California government, and the judiciary. The recommendations put forth by the California committee outline non-binding best practices for lawyers utilizing conceptual AI, stopping short of establishing ethical standards but serving as an interim measure to support the evolving landscape of these technologies.

The suggested guidelines advise lawyers against billing hourly rates for time saved through conceptual AI usage and recommend transparency with clients about the integration of AI in their legal processes. Costs associated with conceptual AI should be invoiced in accordance with relevant laws, as per the guidelines. Furthermore, the guidance underscores the importance of safeguarding private data from AI-related risks and emphasizes the necessity for human oversight of AI-generated outcomes. The committee has proposed the development of a one-hour continuing legal education program on generative AI to address these issues.

In a related development, the contentious issue of the unauthorized practice of law and the provision of legal advice by non-legal professionals have sparked debates in California and beyond. Various states, such as Utah, have explored regulatory frameworks allowing non-traditional entities to operate within controlled environments under state supervision. The Florida Bar is actively formulating ethical standards for conceptual AI usage, covering topics like client consent, technology oversight, and fee structures. Similarly, bar associations in New York and New Jersey have initiated discussions on guidelines for conceptual AI applications.

Recent incidents, such as the Mata v. Avianca case, have underscored the potential risks associated with AI utilization in legal contexts. Attorneys have encountered challenges, including the phenomenon of AI-generated hallucinations leading to erroneous legal citations. These events highlight the critical need for legal professionals to exercise caution and diligence when leveraging AI technologies in their practice.

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Last modified: November 13, 2023
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