Legal Group Launches AI Hub

The American Arbitration Association’s AAAi Lab gathers more than two years worth of work on multiple generative AI projects.

The American Arbitration Association has developed a dedicated website to promote and encourage its widening array of generative AI efforts.

The AAAi Lab, launched last month, is the culmination of two years of concentrated effort within the association to innovate around AI, said Linda L. Beyea, Vice President of Innovation at AAA. In early 2022, she said, the association formed an internal “exploration group” to experiment with tools like Chat GPT to see how it might assist the industry, which focuses on legally structured dispute resolution.

“We identified and documented over 60 use cases,” Beyea said. “Coming out of that group, we started a monthly generative-AI town hall on Zoom, educating staff around generative AI tools.”

Those efforts have since coalesced around a handful of projects. One, for instance, is a chatbot that can answer basic questions about filing arbitration requests. Another is designed to process hearing transcripts and handle meeting-scheduling tasks. A third, formally named ClauseBuilder, automatically develops language for arbitration and mediation agreements.

ClauseBuilder is set for release next week at ALM Legal Week, a technology conference targeted to the legal profession. But because the tool is just one part of AAA’s efforts around the technology—and because the technology stokes a variety of questions—creating the AAAi Lab was important, Beyea said. In addition to providing guidance and articles, the site will include workshops and webinars around particular uses of the technology. The site is also meant to encourage staff participation in ongoing AI work, since they’ve already provided the source of numerous ideas.

Our arbitrators are not relying exclusively on what the AI produces.

Linda L. Beyea, VP of Innovation, American Arbitration Association

“We’ve had dozens of AI related ideas submitted by staff,” she said. “From there, our innovation department, along with colleagues in the business, we’ll put a ‘go team’ to then experiment with the idea.”

Amid those efforts, AAA communicates the importance of human intervention to properly vet the tools, even relatively straightforward ones like the scheduling planner. “Our arbitrators are not relying exclusively on what the AI produces,” Beyea said. “They will always need to be responsible for the accuracy of the final scheduling order. So, they will always need to review it, modify anything that needs correction. But what it’s doing is expediting their preparation of it.” AAA has also published guidelines around the ethical pitfalls of AI, and the need to protect the privacy of data used by the tools. 

Technology like the scheduling tool is designed to increase efficiency and thus save money for arbitrators, and at the moment AAA isn’t looking at AI as a revenue driver. But as the technology becomes more robust, Beyea said, that might change. 

“We do have ideas in the pipeline that could drive revenue,” she said. “We might stand up a service offering to help a party evaluate, How strong is my case? AI might review the documentation in support of their case, and people might access that tool for a fee. Hopefully that might help parties decide to settle their matter earlier. Our goal is not only to help parties resolve disputes by arbitration, but mitigating them or even preventing disputes to begin with.”

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