Q&A: Hinshaw General Counsel Steve Puiszis Discusses the Firm's New Generative AI Policy and the Importance of Ethical "Guardrails"

March 22, 2024

Hinshaw general counsel Steve Puiszis became one of the first law firm GCs to publicly discuss a generative artificial intelligence (AI) policy. Hinshaw implemented an official AI policy earlier this year, drawing on guidance from the California Bar Association, legal precedent in Florida, practitioner input, and the American Bar Association's Rules of Professional Conduct.

In a wide-ranging Q&A, Puiszis said while technology is always evolving, the ethical rules of professional conduct apply with equal force. Designed as a set of ethical "guardrails," Hinshaw's policy emphasizes the importance of competence, communication, confidentiality, and error prevention when using generative AI tools. It advises lawyers to be mindful of client guidelines and to review terms of use to avoid potential legal pitfalls such as indemnification and copyright infringement.

Puiszis highlighted the distinction between professional-grade AI platforms designed for lawyers and consumer-grade tools like ChatGPT and Google Bard. He cautioned against using platforms "that are not connected to any database of legal decisions."

Puiszis advised other firms to assess their risk tolerance and consider the nature and prevalence of potential mistakes when formulating AI policies. When asked if AI will eventually replace lawyers, he responded: "In its current state, I have to say no. What will likely eventually happen is that lawyers who know how to use it — know how to use it well — will ultimately replace lawyers who don't know how to use it. And that's what I've explained to lawyers at our firm."

When that will happen is anyone's guess, but when it comes to any technology's impact on the practice of law, we tend to overestimate its impact in the short run and underestimate its impact in the long run.

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"Hinshaw AI Policy Embraces New Tech, With 'Guardrails'" was published by Law360 on March 21, 2024.

The article was also featured in the "GC Cheat Sheet: The Hottest Corporate News Of The Week, Law360, March 22, 2024. 

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Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP is a U.S.-based law firm with offices nationwide. The firm's national reputation spans the insurance industry, the financial services sector, professional services, and other highly regulated industries. Hinshaw provides holistic legal solutions—from litigation and dispute resolution, and business advisory and transactional services, to regulatory compliance—for clients of all sizes. Visit www.hinshawlaw.com for more information and follow @Hinshaw on LinkedIn and X.