Law firm DLA Piper is poaching data scientists to cash in on the AI boom
DLA Piper, one of the world’s top-grossing law firms, has hired 10 data scientists from a smaller competitor to advise clients on the use of artificial intelligence while regulators around the world draft policies to oversee the fast-growing technology.
A new unit of the multinational is bolstered by the arrival of Bennett Borden, a former CIA officer who used data analytics and machine learning at the agency to predict human behavior. He will be joined by members of his former team at Faegre Drinker as well as current DLA employees.
“We can go to our customers and not just tell them what their AI systems need to do to be compliant, we can test them and make sure they’re actually doing it,” said Danny Tobey, chair of DLA’s Artificial Intelligence practice .
In addition to helping large companies and governments develop AI systems or algorithmic models and navigate new laws, DLA said it will develop AI tools that clients can use for their own legal tasks. The firm will also use generative AI – the technology behind ChatGPT – to assist its own attorneys with day-to-day research and writing assignments.
DLA Piper’s move comes after magic circle firm Allen & Overy announced last month that it would launch a generative AI chatbot called Harvey to help attorneys draft contracts, merger and acquisition documents, and memos for clients.
The launch of ChatGPT in November sparked an avalanche of investment in AI technologies. San Francisco-based OpenAI, which developed the program, has itself attracted an additional $10 billion in investment from Microsoft, at a $29 billion valuation.
However, the proliferation of the technology has raised ethical questions about algorithmic bias, as well as copyright and licensing concerns, particularly in relation to AI-created images.
Politicians have scrambled to introduce legislation that will regulate the evolving technology, with legislation such as the EU’s AI law expected to come into force later this year. In the US, the FTC has stepped up its efforts to regulate the industry and has recently warned companies not to exaggerate the effectiveness of their software.
“There are over 700 active policy initiatives around the world trying to regulate AI,” said DLA’s Tobey, adding that as a result, “the ground keeps shifting [businesses’] feet”.
DLA is already heavily involved in lobbying Washington lawmakers regarding AI regulations. Tony Samp, the firm’s senior policy adviser, was the founding director of the US Senate’s Artificial Intelligence Caucus. DLA also employs Paul Hemmersbaugh, who drafted the first federal policy for autonomous vehicles while working for the US government.
Such know-how, emphasized the management of DLA, would not itself be replaced by AI.
“Right now, there is no technology on Earth that replaces human judgment or automatically enforces law,” Tobey said. “And I’m not sure there ever will be.”
https://www.ft.com/content/f76ba42e-3473-466f-b10e-1e780fd388ab Law firm DLA Piper is poaching data scientists to cash in on the AI boom