World-Renowned Experts, Prominent Panelists To Discuss the Impact of Artificial Intelligence at the 2024 Presidential Summit

By David Alexander

December 19, 2023

World-Renowned Experts, Prominent Panelists To Discuss the Impact of Artificial Intelligence at the 2024 Presidential Summit


By David Alexander

ChatGPT failed the Unified Bar Exam in December of 2022, and less than four months later its descendant, GPT-4, scored in the top 10th percentile and completed the test in less than six minutes.

That news has stirred excitement and worry while provoking debate surrounding what the accelerating growth of Artificial Intelligence means for the legal profession.

That discourse will be at the heart of the Presidential Summit, the marquee event of the New York State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, on Wednesday, Jan. 17, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom West of the Hilton Midtown in New York City.

The summit, entitled “AI and the Legal Landscape: Navigating the Ethical, Regulatory and Practical Challenges,” will focus on harnessing the technology that is transforming the practice of law and bringing ethical and regulatory challenges to the forefront of its deployment.

“Artificial Intelligence is having and will continue to have an enormous impact on the legal profession. It is rapidly growing, and we need to address how to implement it into our daily practices while at the same time developing appropriate regulation mechanisms to prevent it from being misused,” said New York State Bar Association President Richard Lewis.

The first of two 90-minute panels will touch upon issues surrounding generative AI and will feature a pair of world-renowned experts: Bridget McCormack, president and CEO of the American Arbitration Association and former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, and Katherine Forrest, partner in the Litigation Department and co-chair of the Digital Technology Group and a member of the Antitrust Practice Group at Paul, Weiss.

McCormack and Forrest both said the precipitous learning curve illustrated in the transition of ChatGPT into GPT-4 on the bar exam is merely a glance into the technology’s ability to quickly assimilate and adapt itself to a task put before it.

“This is going to have more of an impact on the business of law and the way we practice than any other technology we have seen in our lifetime. Anyone who is familiar with it is taken aback on how fast it has improved and how powerful it is,” said McCormack.

“There is going to be a velocity of change that is unmatched. The absolute transformative reality of AI is reshaping every industry and the way we are practicing law. The transformation is coming, and the only question is: are we ready?” said Forrest.

McCormack and Forrest will offer an overview of the potential and regulatory issues surrounding generative AI, while the second panel will concentrate on how to leverage the technology as a 21st century lawyer. Discussion will center on how it can assist in legal research, document drafting and client interactions while adhering to ethical guidelines and maintaining the highest practice standards.

The panelists will include:

  • Vivian D. Wesson, Executive Vice President, Corporate Secretary, and General Counsel for the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and chair of the NYSBA Task Force on AI;
  • Ignatius Grande, Director at Berkeley Research Group and a member of the association’s Task Force on AI and Immediate Past Chair of its Commercial & Federal Litigation Section;
  • Marissa Moran, Professor in the law and paralegal studies department at New York City College of Technology, CUNY, and
  • Ronald Hedges, Principal of Ronald L. Hedges and a member of the NYSBA Task Force on AI.

The Presidential Summit is just one of NYSBA’s premier events during the 147th Annual Meeting that takes place from Jan. 16 to 20.

Other highlights include the Presidential Gala, where former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will be honored with the association’s most prestigious award, the Gold Medal. The gala is Thursday Jan. 18, from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., at the Museum of Modern Art. Chief Judge Rowan Wilson will deliver the keynote address at the Justice for All Luncheon earlier that day, while the Constance Baker Motley Symposium and Diversity Awards Program takes place Wednesday, Jan. 17, from 4:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. The President’s Reception will immediately follow.

Honoring attorneys who render extraordinary service to the public and the profession is part of NYSBA’s Annual Meeting tradition. This year’s edition promises to be a dynamic and informative event, featuring a wide range of sessions and activities tailored to the diverse interests and needs of lawyers practicing in New York.

The 2024 Presidential Summit is sponsored by ALM and Anytime.AI.

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