Judges Implement Standing Orders to Guide Attorneys on AI Pitfalls

In the rapidly evolving artificial intelligence (AI) landscape, judges play a key role in shaping AI’s direction and use in courtroom settings. To address the challenges associated with AI in court filings, federal judges have begun issuing standing orders. These orders provide guidelines and best practices for attorneys using AI in their legal work.

One of the main concerns highlighted by judges is the need for responsible use of AI-generated prompts and results. These tools should be applied in a manner consistent with client confidentiality and verified for accuracy by a human being. Over-reliance on generative AI can lead to adverse outcomes, and attorneys need to exercise caution in their use.

Depending on the jurisdiction, attorneys may also be required to provide notice to the court when using AI and plan accordingly. The issuance of standing orders is just the beginning, as there may be future rulemaking and rules of professional conduct pertaining to AI in the legal field.

Several federal judges have already issued standing orders on AI. Judge Brantley Starr of the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas was the first to do so. His order requires attorneys to disclose whether their filings were drafted using generative AI tools. Similar orders have been issued by Judge Michael Baylson of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Magistrate Judge Gabriel A. Fuentes of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

These orders vary in scope, from specifically targeting generative AI to encompassing a broader range of AI technologies. The orders emphasize the need for transparency and compliance with legal requirements. Judge Stephen Alexander Vaden of the US Court of International Trade also issued an order requiring identification of generative AI programs used and certification that no confidential information was disclosed.

While these four judges are not the only ones implementing standing orders on AI, their actions serve as a reminder for legal practitioners to approach the use of AI in a responsible and compliant manner. As the use of AI in the legal field continues to grow, it is essential for attorneys to stay informed and adhere to best practices when incorporating AI into their work.