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35 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol'y 1 (2021)
Lawyer Ethics for Innovation

handle is hein.journals/ndlep35 and id is 1 raw text is: ARTICLES
LAWYER ETHICS FOR INNOVATION
RENEE KNAKE JEFFERSON*
ABSTRACT
Law struggles to keep pace with innovation. Twenty-first century
advancements like artificial intelligence, block chain, and data analytics are
already in use by academic institutions, corporations, government entities,
health care providers, and others but many questions remain about
individual autonomy, identity, privacy, and security. Even as new laws
address known threats, future technology developments and process
improvements, fueled by consumer-demand and globalization, inevitably
will present externalities that the legal community has yet to confront.
How do we design laws and systems to ensure accountability, equality,
and transparency in this environment of rapid change? A solution can be
found in a surprising source the regulation ofprofessional ethics. Lawyers
have the capacity to play a critical role both in assessing the risks and
benefits of innovation generally and also in deploying innovative tools to
enhance the delivery of legal services. This Article is the first to articulate
a formal obligation of ethical innovation as a component of professional
discipline and licensing rules. This proposal comes at a time when the legal
profession is increasingly immersed in innovation whether measured by
the number of NewLaw providers, exponentially increasing financial
investment in legal tech, or by the American Bar Association's 2020
Resolution supporting innovation to address the access-to-justice crisis.
Rather than taking a particular side in the debate over whether
lawyers and judges should adopt innovations like artificial intelligence or
machine learning, this Article acknowledges that technology advancements
inevitably are part of modern society, including the practice of law, and
advocates for reforms to professional conduct rules to protect individuals in
the midst of innovation. This protection is especially warranted when
Professor of Law & Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics, University of Houston Law Center. JD,
University of Chicago Law School. Special thanks are owed to Catrina Denvir, John Flood, Bruce
Green, Bill Henderson, Wallace B. Jefferson, Sung Kim, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Russ Pearce,
Deborah Rhode, Julian Webb, and Brad Wendel for their comments as well as the
Australian-American Fulbright Commission for research support. Katy Badeaux and Brad
Raymond provided excellent research assistance. From 2014-16, I served as a Reporter for the
American Bar Association Presidential Commission on the Future of Legal Services. That work
informed ideas here, which are my own and not expressed on behalf of any of my institutional
affiliations.

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