Closing the Gap between Artificial Intelligence and Regulatory Challenges

On 6th December 2019 Association for Corporate Counsel (ACC), European Company Lawyers’ Association (ECLA) and The Law Societies’ Joint Brussels Office organised a round table discussion on the implications of AI on corporate legal departments. The discussion was hosted by Geoffrey Didier, MEP, and chaired by Danish MEP Karin Melchior. Ilse de Loof, Chief Legal Officer LBC Tanks, Mechelen and ACC Europe Board Member, Quanq-Minh Lepescheux, Director for EU Government Affairs at Microsoft, Aswin Parkunantharan from legal tech company Wolters Kluwer and joint hosts European Company Lawyers’ Association (ECLA)..

The discussions focused on:

  • · The current use of AI in the legal sector and how we will see it in the future;
  • · The ethical considerations surrounding AI used in-house practice; and
  • · What is required from policy makers to make AI a success.

Currently, algorithms are used to speed up and ensure accuracy of typical legal processes, which in the future will have a profound effect on the legal profession, particularly among paralegals and legal associates.

In its current form, it is difficult to determine whether AI respects ethical and legal boundaries, or whether it is compliant with privacy and data protection law. It was agreed that any developments with AI in the legal sector should be compliant with current legal principles and frameworks. Clarity on the AI decision-making process is essential to identify and monitor all misconstructions, bias or programming errors.

Recommendations for successfully utilising AI within the legal sector include implementing a regulatory framework before machine-learning based becomes more widespread. This framework should include an obligation on the user to assess, monitor and review the space AI operates in society and be wary of implicit bias and discrimination.

The panellists concluding remarks underlined that whilst the current state of affairs is unclear, hopefully the future will provide more clarity on the AI decision-making processes. The panel was also of the view that a basic legislative framework should be implemented in the near future. Getting firms to grasp AI, in its early stages, will give the legal profession an advantage in implementing an effective, fair and unbiased AI system process.