November 28, 2023

Munger, Tolles & Olson Co-Managing Partner Hailyn Chen Discusses California Bar’s First-of-Its-Kind Guidance on AI for Attorneys

Munger, Tolles & Olson Co-Managing Partner Hailyn Chen was quoted in an article titled “California Bar Adopts First-of-Its-Kind Guidance on AI for Attorneys,” published by The Recorder.

The article focuses on how the California state bar trustees approved novel ethics guidelines for attorneys incorporating generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) into their legal practice. The guidelines underscore attorneys’ responsibility to ensure client confidentiality, that content generated by GenAI is accurate, and that information entered into GenAI language models is safe from public disclosure. Ms. Chen, a state bar trustee, said MTO has already begun exploring the use of GenAI, and that the bar’s guidance on the matter is comprehensive and builds on existing professional ethical standards.

“I do think this guidance is needed, and it’s needed now,” Ms. Chen said. “I think it’s very sensible in that it spots issues rather than having a prescriptive approach. Given how quickly AI is changing, it tells lawyers to reference the existing ethical obligations.”

While not the same as a formal ethics opinion or amendment to the professional conduct rules, the new guidance can be cited in disciplinary cases facing attorneys accused of wrongdoing relating to GenAI use. The Recorder notes that other states are working on their own rules and guidelines related to AI use in law, but California’s state bar appears to be the first regulatory agency to enact official guidance.

Read The Recorder article. (Subscription may be required)