Artificial Intelligence and Legal Practice–A Developing Project

by Shubha Ghosh, Crandall Melvin Professor of Law and Director, IP & Technology Commercialization Program and SIPLI

One ongoing project beginning this Summer is a comparative study of legal tech in Germany, conducted with colleagues at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany. Bucerius is the first private law school in Germany and is an innovator in legal and tech startups. The school is dedicated not only to broadening legal education but also to reforming the legal profession to make it more flexible and responsive to modern needs. I will be posting on my progress on this project over the next several months.

One impetus for the project is the recent strategy paper from the German Federal Government on how to make Germany an AI-Hub in Europe. The Strategy Paper proposes goals and funding paths to develop AI research and startups in German universities and research centers. As guiding principles for the initiative, the Federal Government commits to responsible use of artificial intelligence to serve the good of society by developing the technology to respect the inviolability of human dignity, respect for privacy, and principle of equality. Reforms to competition law, the funding of AI research, the sharing of data for research purposes, and other policies aim to support expansions to the infrastructure for real-time data transmission in the giga-bit society. I will be discussing some of these reforms in future posts, especially proposals for greater data sharing and promotion of industry competition.

One issue not discussed in the draft strategy paper is the need for reforms to the legal profession, a subject of active debate in Germany, as in the United States. Proposals to change the meaning of the unauthorized practece of law, as enforced by both federal and state bars are desirable to meet the needs of legal tech startups, especially ones the seek to integrate novel software applications with legal services. Future posts will describe these efforts as well as new startup firms in Germany. Worth noting is the brief discussion of the potential for AI to improve the efficiency of government administration, the subject of a recent report in the US from the National Academyof Public Administration. The US report focuses on technological approaches to streamlining government administration in agencies and in courts and exhibits a more tech-frinedly approach. In contrast, the German approach is more cautious while emphasizing the potential broad impact of AI on the economy.

More to come…

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