Cohen & Sinowski
Cohen & Sinowski

Navigating the Risks of AI in Legal Practice: Lessons from a New York Lawyer’s Misstep

  • Published: June 11, 2023

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made significant strides in recent years, and its potential applications in the legal field have generated both excitement and concern. While AI can offer numerous benefits, such as increased efficiency and reduced human error, it also comes with potential pitfalls. A recent incident involving a New York lawyer who got in trouble for using AI to write a brief to the Court, which cited a fake case, serves as a cautionary tale for the legal profession.

The Incident: A Brief Gone Wrong

In an attempt to save time and resources, a New York lawyer turned to AI software to help draft a legal brief for submission to the court. The AI-generated brief cited a case that, unbeknownst to the lawyer, was entirely fictitious. The court quickly caught the error and reprimanded the lawyer for the oversight, questioning the reliability of the AI software and the lawyer’s diligence in reviewing the document.

The Risks of Relying on AI in Legal Practice

This incident highlights several potential risks associated with relying on AI for legal work, including:

  1. Inaccurate information: AI-generated content may contain inaccuracies, such as citing non-existent cases or misinterpreting legal principles. While AI can process vast amounts of data, it may not always discern between reliable and unreliable sources or understand the nuances of legal concepts.
  2. Ethical concerns: Lawyers have an ethical duty to provide competent representation and exercise due diligence in their work. Relying solely on AI-generated content without thoroughly reviewing and verifying the information could potentially breach these ethical obligations.
  3. Loss of human touch: AI lacks the human touch and empathy that are vital in many aspects of legal practice, such as understanding clients’ needs and emotions or crafting persuasive arguments in court.
  4. Potential liability: Errors in AI-generated content could expose lawyers to potential professional liability claims if the mistakes lead to adverse outcomes for their clients.

Striking the Right Balance: Combining AI and Human Expertise

Despite the risks, AI can still offer valuable benefits to the legal profession if used responsibly and in conjunction with human expertise. To strike the right balance, lawyers should consider the following best practices:

  1. Use AI as a tool, not a replacement: AI can be a valuable tool for streamlining research, drafting, and other time-consuming tasks, but it should not replace human expertise and judgment. Lawyers should always review and verify AI-generated content to ensure its accuracy and relevance.
  2. Stay informed about AI developments: As AI technology continues to evolve, lawyers should stay informed about the latest developments and potential applications in their practice areas. This knowledge can help lawyers make informed decisions about when and how to incorporate AI into their work.
  3. Invest in training: Lawyers should invest in training to understand the capabilities and limitations of AI technology. This knowledge can help them use AI more effectively and responsibly in their practice.
  4. Establish ethical guidelines: Law firms and legal organizations should establish ethical guidelines for using AI in legal practice, addressing issues such as data privacy, transparency, and accountability.

By striking the right balance between AI and human expertise, lawyers can harness the benefits of AI while minimizing the risks and maintaining the high standards of professionalism and ethical conduct that the legal profession demands.

Conclusion: Proceed with Caution

The incident involving the New York lawyer serves as a reminder of the potential pitfalls of relying on AI in legal practice. While AI can offer numerous benefits, it’s essential for lawyers to exercise caution and due diligence when incorporating AI into their work. By combining AI with human expertise, lawyers can reap the rewards of increased efficiency and innovation while upholding the principles of ethical and competent representation.

Trust the Human Expertise of Cohen & Sinowski

At Cohen & Sinowski, we recognize the importance of striking the right balance between utilizing AI technology and maintaining the high standards of human expertise that our clients expect and deserve. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to providing personalized, competent, and ethical representation in every case.

If you need assistance with a personal injury or other legal matter, trust the human expertise of our team at Cohen & Sinowski. Contact us today at 404-351-8888 or visit our website at for a free consultation.



Cohen & Sinowski

The personal injury attorneys of Cohen & Sinowski are
dedicated to helping clients in the Metro Atlanta area.
Call Us Today! (404) 383-8835

Accessibility Accessibility
Ă— Accessibility Menu CTRL+U