Sunday, May 26, 2024

Another article on A-I and the practice of law

 In my previous post I mentioned a couple of recent posts regarding AI and the practice of law.  Here is another one:  "Is The Legal Industry Ready For AI?; It's crucial to consider these questions" published in Above the Law.  You can read the full article hereread the full article here.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Generative AI and the practice of law

As reported by Ethical Grounds, last month, the D.C. Bar issued Ethics Opinion 388: Attorneys’ Use of Generative Artificial Intelligence in Client Matters, which discusses many different issues and the Rules of Professional Conduct most likely implicated by a legal professional’s use of generative AI (GAI).  You can read the opinion here.

Based on this opinion, Michael Kennedy (of Ethical Grounds), has posted two new comments on issues related to generative AI and the practice of law.  In the first one, available here, he discusses why it is not necessary to amend or change current rules of professional conduct in response to the effects of generative AI in the practice of law.  In the second one, available here, he begins to address issues related to the professional duties most likely to be implicated by a legal professional’s use of GAI by discussing the duty of confidentiality.  I expect he will address other duties in future posts, so stay tuned.  

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Is it justified to impose disciplinary sanctions if the lawyer has received a presidential pardon?

 Is it justified to impose disciplinary sanctions if the lawyer has received a presidential pardon?  New Jersey thinks so.  Here is the story, as reported in the Legal Profession Blog.  

Monday, May 13, 2024

ABA Issues Formal Opinion cautioning lawyers to be careful not to disclose confidential information when talking about the representation of clients

As all of you know, the ABA's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility frequently issues Formal Opinions to help answer questions and clarify aspects related to the interpretation and application of the ABA Model Rules.  Last week, the Committee issued a new opinion on confidentiality.  Its summary reads as follows:

Rule 1.6 prohibits a lawyer from posting questions or comments relating to a representation to a listserv, even in hypothetical or abstract form, without the client’s informed consent if there is a reasonable likelihood that the lawyer’s questions or comments will disclose information relating to the representation that would allow a reader then or later to infer the identity of the lawyer’s client or the situation involved. A lawyer may, however, participate in listserv discussions such as those related to legal news, recent decisions, or changes in the law, without a client’s informed consent if the lawyer’s contributions will not disclose, or be reasonably likely to lead to the disclosure of, information relating to a client representation. 

Whether the conclusion is limited to listsevs is actually not that relevant since the same can be said of any instance in which a lawyer discusses a client's representation in a public setting (when addressing a group discussion, as an example in a meeting, when teaching a class, when participating in a CLE program, etc, etc.)  But the focus of the opinion seems to be on lawyers who turn to listservs to seek help on a matter they are working on for a client, a practice I can safely say is very common in at least one of the listservs I follow.

Lawyers like talking about their work, their clients and often share war stories or use their experiences as examples to illustrate issues, or to ask questions.  Often, they also ask others for help in finding support for an argument or to find sources of information on how to handle a particular issue.  The problem is that, in doing so, it is possible to disclose confidential information, which, of course, could be a problem.

Yet, although the opinion follows the logic of the broad approach to confidentiality reflected in the rules, it was quickly criticized by some, ironically, in a listserv I follow.  Likewise, Bob Ambrogi, who writes about legal technology in the website LawSites, wrote a good article in which concludes that the opinion "takes an overly heavy-handed approach to an issue it should have addressed, if at all, maybe 20 years ago. In other words it is too much, too late."  You should read his opinion here.

Micheal Kennedy also has a comment on the opinion here.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Following California, DC Court of Appeals temporarily suspends John Eastman's license pending the resolution of his disciplinary case

As reported by The Hill, the D.C. Court of Appeals has temporarily suspended the law license of former President Trump’s ex-lawyer following a similar order made in late March by a California State Bar Court.  You can read the court's order here.  Go the The Hill for the full story.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Judge rejects John Eastman's motion to lift interim suspension

 A judge in California turned down an urgent plea Wednesday from John Eastman to allow him to keep practicing law while he fights an effort to permanently revoke his license.  The judge ruled that Eastman’s motion failed to show that he no longer presents a threat to the public.

Politico has the full story here.