AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum / May/June 2017 / Volume 21, Number 5

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

Issue link: http://epubs.aallnet.org/i/809949

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Page 21 of 59

20 AALL SPECTRUM | WWW.AALLNET.ORG competence while e-discovery tech- nologies are constantly developing and becoming more closely integrated in their legal practice. e digest of the opinion suggests, "Attorney competence related to litigation generally requires, among other things, and at a minimum, a basic understanding of, and facility with, issues relating to e-discovery, including the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI). On a case- by-case basis, the duty of competence may require a higher level of technical knowledge and ability, depending on the e-discovery issues involved in a mat- ter, and the nature of the ESI." e opin- ion then species a few tasks lawyers should be able to perform, "either by themselves or in association with com- petent co-counsel or expert consultants," among which is the task to perform data searches. e California Opinion may shed some light on how lawyers can fulll their ethical duties when AI is involved in their legal practice. At any time of rapid technology development and transition, law librar- ians have always been at the forefront to provide insights based on their deep understanding of users' research habits. In 1996, when users were just being captivated by the simple and intuitive way of natural language searching, one librarian cautioned against emphasizing natural language over Boolean search- ing in an AALL Spectrum article titled "Natural Born Killers: An Argument Against Teaching Natural Language Searching." In the article, Kelly Kunsch sounded the alarm because a natural language search needs to be translated into computer language "using an algo- rithm or quasi-mathematical formula" and at the time of the article the "trans- lation" was not done very well. is created two pitfalls for users: (1) "[a] user who does not understand what the computer does in the translation will not choose the best word for the search" and therefore, "rarely utilize computer research to its fullest capac- ity;" (2) "[a]n attorney who does not understand computer searching lan- guage is unable to evaluate and correct the search" and, therefore, creates a "false sense of accuracy." As legal databases such as Westlaw and LexisNexis have continued to improve their natural language process- ing algorithms and further adjust the "translation," the animosity against nat- ural language searching has diminished. However, when more and more rms are partnering with ROSS or other AI systems to provide faster, better and lower-cost legal services, the concerns expressed in this article from 20 years ago still seem to resonate. Similar to the power behind natural language search- ing, AI uses algorithms to mimic the human brain's learning, analytical, and decision-making processes. In light of the exponential amount of data and the complexity of technology involved in an AI system, both the benets that can be reaped from an optimal AI application and the dangers that may come from a "false sense of accuracy" are amplied. Law librarians' keen awareness of the pitfalls in similar technology and advo- cacy in teaching eective and ecient searching strategies are valuable assets in this time of rapid change. In addi- tion to the duty to maintain technol- ogy competence under Rule 1.1, an unchecked reliance on AI technology to reach legal conclusions may also vio- late a lawyer's duty to supervise under Rule 5.1 and 5.3, the duty to exercise independent judgment under Rule 2.1, and bring claims under Rule 5.5 for the unauthorized practice of law. Looking Ahead e time is ripe for law librarians to incorporate background knowledge of both database algorithms and AI corpus contents into the legal research curriculum in both academic and rm instructional settings. Given the risks and benets associated with AI technology, this training will prepare attorneys to be informed ethical prac- titioners. Since database algorithms are well-guarded proprietary informa- tion, the legal industry needs to call for transparency and standardization related to such technology. In an op-ed for Bloomberg Big Law Business, Wendy Wen Yun Chang, a member of the ABA's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and a partner at Hinshaw Culbertson, expressed her opinion that it is time to regulate AI providers and require some quality standards. (Read Chang's op-ed at bit.ly/MJ17Chang.) is is in line with the lawyers' goal of fullling their ethical duties related to technology. As she states in her article, "Technology, especially AI technology, can be deceptive because its inner workings are invisible to the naked eye." Having a general understanding of database algorithms oers a glimpse into the inner workings of AI and makes it possible for attorneys and law librarians to evaluate and correct possible mistakes created by an AI program. Law librar- ians need to maintain their role in the information cycle as instructors, experts, knowledge curators, and technology consultants as AI is implemented in legal practice and education. ¢ SHERRY XIN CHEN LEGAL INFORMATION LIBRARIAN & LECTURER IN LAW Boston College Law Library Newton, MA sherry.xin.chen@bc.edu © 2017 BY SHERRY XIN CHEN MARY ANN NEARY ASSOCIATE LAW LIBRARIAN FOR EDUCATION & REFERENCE SERVICES LEGAL INFORMATION LIBRARIAN & LECTURER IN LAW Boston College Law Library Newton, MA maryann.neary@bc.edu © 2017 BY MARY ANN NEARY READ "Artificial Intelligence: Not Just Sci-Fi Anymore" from the September/ October 2016 issue of AALL Spectrum at bit.ly/SO16AI. AALL 2017 ALERT Don't miss the session "Deep Dive: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform the Delivery of Legal Services," Monday, July 17 from 9:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m. For more information visit bit.ly/AALL17AI.

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