June 10, 2024 - by Pamela Langham

Educating Legal Professionals on AI Integration

Artificial intelligence is being used in all sectors of the economy and for personal use. Lawyers should begin learning about this new technology and understand how to integrate it into their practice effectively and safely. If you are a lawyer thinking about integrating AI into your practice there are a variety of resources available.

Lawyers should familiarize themselves with the basic concepts and terminology of AI, such as machine learning, deep learning, artificial neural network, generative AI, prompt, general intelligence, superintelligence, generative pre-trained transformer (GPTs), large language models, deepfakes, etc. This foundational knowledge can be acquired through free online courses, webinars, and reading materials from reputable sources. The MSBA has produced multiple legal articles on these topics. A small sample includes “Navigating Ethical Concerns for Lawyers Using AI,” MSBA Blog, May 14, 2024, “Deepfakes Continue to Rattle,” MSBA Blog, April 22, 2024, “Why Lawyers Can’t Afford to Ignore AI,” MSBA Blog, April 3, 2024, and “Meet Anthropic’s Claude, Your New Hardworking AI Associate Who Doesn’t Bill By The Hour,” MSBA Blog, October 29, 2023. 

Lawyers interested in learning about AI for their legal practice can benefit from a variety of free webinars designed to educate and inform about the latest advancements and application of AI in legal settings. The Financial Times in partnership with PwC offers a free webinar called, “Legal Sector AI 2024.” The webinar explores the impact AI has on the practice of law. The webinar describes how law firms are leveraging AI to enhance services and the benefits to lawyers. Clio also offers a menu of free webinars for lawyers to learn about how to apply AI in their legal practice. An excellent one is Clio’s webinar titled, “AI for Law Firms: How It’s Reshaping Legal and Why You Should Care.” The webinar claims to demystify AI for lawyers. It explains how and why lawyers should be using AI in their practice to create efficiencies and better serve clients. Similarly, Clio’s “How to Use AI in Your Firm (with examples!)” is a recording that explores practical use cases for AI in law firms, from legal research to practice area-specific prompts, and discusses popular AI tools, as well as, ethical considerations. The ABA also offers many introductory webinars that explore the basics of AI and the impact of AI. Lastly, the webinar “AI for Law Firms: Abuses and Uses (With Examples!)” by Smokeball presents real-world examples of how attorneys are using AI in their practices, as well as examples of when AI goes wrong.  

Continuing legal education (CLE) programs that include AI topics are another excellent resource for lawyers. These programs often cover the latest trends, case studies, practical use cases and legal considerations related to AI, providing lawyers with up-to-date knowledge that can be applied in their practice.

These free webinars or CLEs offer a wealth of knowledge for lawyers looking to stay ahead in their field by understanding and utilizing AI. They provide a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application, ensuring that legal professionals are well-equipped to harness the power of AI in their daily practice. By participating in these webinars, lawyers can gain a competitive edge, improve efficiency, and better serve their clients. 

Practical experience with AI tools is invaluable. Lawyers can start by experimenting with the free AI tools, e.g. OpenAI’s ChaptGPT, Microsoft’s Co-Pilot or Anthropic’s Claude. Many vendors offering AI applications designed for the legal industry, such as contract analysis software, predictive analytics for litigation outcomes, or legal research tools offer free trials. By using these tools in controlled settings, lawyers can gain hands-on experience and learn how to leverage AI to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and decision-making in their practice. Collaboration with these AI experts can be beneficial.  

Lastly, it is important for lawyers to adopt a mindset of continuous learning and adaptability. The field of AI is dynamic with new developments occurring frequently. By remaining open-minded, curious and open to innovation, lawyers can ensure that they are not left behind as the legal profession continues to be shaped by AI.

In conclusion, educating oneself about AI in the legal field involves a multifaceted approach that includes self-study, free resources and webinars, ethical considerations, practical application, collaboration, formal education through CLEs, and a commitment to ongoing learning. By taking these steps, lawyers can harness the power of AI to decrease their workload.