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Re-Regulating UPL in an Age of AI

Walters, Ed, Re-Regulating UPL in an Age of AI (May 25, 2024). 8 Georgetown Law Technology Review 316 (2024), Available at SSRN:
“States regulate the Unauthorized Practice of Law as a way to protect consumers from fraudulent, negligent, or incompetent legal services. Although states have not agreed on what specifically constitutes the “practice of law,” there has been a broad consensus that if software can do the work, it does not constitute the practice of law. That definition is on a collision course with artificial intelligence tools, which can quickly and inexpensively provide services that historically would qualify as UPL. This Essay suggests that states would do little to protect consumers by enforcing UPL statutes against software developers, that instead private rights of action for fraud, misrepresentation, or negligence would strike a more effective balance to empower assistance to self-represented litigants while still protecting them from harms. At a time when software tools might be used to narrow the access to justice gap, the chilling effect of vague UPL statutes would do little to protect consumers.”

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