AI + Access to Justice Current Projects

AI & Justice Workers

At the Arizona State University/American Bar Foundation conference on the Future of Justice Work, Margaret Hagan spoke on if and how generative AI might be part of new service and business models to serve people with legal problems.

Many in the audience are already developing new staffing & service models, that combine traditional lawyer-provided services with help provided by community-justice workers.

In the conference’s final session, the panelists discussed how technology — particularly the new generative AI models — might also figure into new initiatives to better reach & serve people struggling with eviction orders, bad living conditions, domestic violence, debt collection, custody problems, and more.

Margaret presented a brief summary of the Legal Design Lab’s work on user research into what people need & want from legal AI, how they currently use AI tools, what justice professionals are brainstorming as possible AI-powered justice work, and metrics and benchmark protocols to evaluate the AI.

Possible AI-powered justice work zones

This clear listing of the tasks that go into “legal work” and “legal services” that we need to do in AI – -is similar to what people working on new community justice worker models are also doing.

Breaking legal work apart into these tasks can help us think systematically about new, stratified models of delivering services.

  • Inside of these zones of work, what are the specific tasks that exist (that lawyers and legal org staff currently do, or should be doing)?
  • Who can and should be best doing this task?
    • Only Seasoned Lawyers: Which of the tasks can only be done by expert lawyers, with JDs, bar admissions, and multiple years practicing in a given problem area & on this task?
    • Medium-to-Novice Lawyers: Which of the tasks can be done by medium-to-novice lawyers, with JDs, bar admission, but little to no practice experience in this problem area or on this task (like pro bono volunteers, or new lawyers)?
    • Seasoned Justice Workers: Which of the tasks can be done by people who are paralegals, advocates, volunteers, social workers, and other community justice workers who have multiple years working this problem area & doing this kind of task?
    • Medium-to-Novice Justice Workers: Which of the tasks can be done by community justice workers who are new to this problem area & task?
    • Tech + Lawyer/Justice Worker: Which of these tasks can be done by technology (initial draft/work product) then reviewed by a lawyer or justice worker?
    • Technology: Which of these tasks can be done technology without human review?

Ideally, our justice community will have more of these discussions about the future of providing services with smart, safe models that can improve capacity & people’s outcomes.