Generative AI and Access to Civil Justice Lab (Sandman/McCormack)
M 4:30PM - 6:29PM
Tanenbaum Hall 145
This experiential class will address the potential of generative artificial intelligence to address the civil "justice gap"in the United States.
According to the World Justice Project, the United States ranks 115th out of 142 countries for the affordability and accessibility of civil justice; among the 43 wealthiest countries, the United States ranks 43rd -- dead last. Both parties have lawyers in only 24 percent of civil cases in our state courts. The unaffordability and inaccessibility of legal assistance affects not only low-income people, but the middle class as well.
Generative artificial intelligence offers new and scalable opportunities to democratize legal information and processes for the millions of people who navigate justice problems without lawyers. These opportunities will more likely be realized if lawyers drive them while managing the risks of generative AI.
This course will provide students with a robust understanding of the state of civil justice in the United States for everyday people. Students will learn about the nature of the civil justice problems people experience, the ability of the bar and the courts to address those problems, the prevalence of self-represented litigants in civil cases, and the barriers to improvement in the civil justice system. Students will acquire a basic understanding of generative AI's underlying technology, its evolving applications in law practice, its potential to make understandable legal information easily available to individuals, and the ethical implications of using AI in law. Students will interview and learn from people affected by the deficiencies in the civil justice system, engage with a variety of guest speakers, and put they skills they are learning to work on real problems.
The course instructors are Bridget Mary McCormack and Jim Sandman. Bridget recently retired as Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and is now CEO of the American Arbitration Association. She previously ran the clinical programs at the University of Michigan Law School. Jim Sandman is Distinguished Lecturer and Senior Consultant to the Future of the Profession Initiative at Penn Carey Law. He is President Emeritus of the Legal Services Corporation, the United States' largest funder of civil legal aid, and former Managing Partner of Arnold & Porter. Class will meet six times for two hours -- on Mondays from January 22 through February 26. Attendance is required.
Students will be assessed on their class participation, engagement with project partners and persons affected by the civil justice gap, written reflections on assigned prompts, and AI prototype creation and presentation.
Perspectives on the Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects, and is affected by, the individual course topic; Perform legal analysis in the context of the individual course topic; Communicate effectively on the legal and other aspects of the individual course topic; Demonstrate the ability to use other disciplines to analyze legal issues relevant to the individual course topic, including economics, philosophy, and sociology, as appropriate.
Professional Responsibility and Ethics Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects, and is affected by, the individual course topic; Perform legal analysis in the context of the individual course topic; Communicate effectively on the legal and other aspects of the individual course topic; Demonstrate the ability to use other disciplines to analyze legal issues relevant to the individual course topic, including economics, philosophy, and sociology, as appropriate.
Equity and Inclusion Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Perform legal analysis in the context of topics related to equity and inclusion; Communicate effectively on the legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Demonstrate an understanding of how equity and inclusion are connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.