The New Jersey Supreme Court has issued preliminary guidelines on the use of Artificial Intelligence by NJ attorneys.
Here is a summary of the key points from the notice regarding the guidelines.
The core ethical responsibilities of lawyers outlined in the Rules of Professional Conduct will not change by the integration of AI in legal practice. However, lawyers must be mindful of new applications and potential challenges when using AI tools to ensure compliance with ethical standards. Key guidelines include:
- Accuracy and truthfulness – Lawyers must check and verify any information generated by AI to ensure it is accurate and not falsified before using it. Failure to do so could violate rules prohibiting frivolous assertions, false statements, and misconduct involving dishonesty.
- Honesty, candor and communication – Lawyers remain responsible for the validity of submissions prepared using AI, including to tribunals. Use of AI does not excuse submission of false, fake or misleading content. Lawyers must inform clients if AI use is necessary for them to make informed decisions regarding representation.
- Confidentiality – Lawyers must make reasonable efforts to prevent unauthorized access or disclosure of client information when using AI tools.
- Prevention of misconduct – Prohibitions on dishonesty, fraud, deceit, discrimination, and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice continue to apply to lawyer’s use of AI tools.
- Oversight – Law firms and lawyers must provide ethical oversight regarding the use of AI tools by subordinate lawyers and non-lawyer staff.
The guidelines will serve to assist lawyer compliance with existing ethical rules as they integrate AI into practice. Specific applications of AI may raise additional ethical considerations for lawyer conduct.