Press Release

Duke Center on Law & Technology launches RAILS initiative; industry leaders invited to join new network promoting responsible AI in legal services

NEW YORK, NY – January 17, 2024 – Responsible AI in Legal Services (RAILS) brings together a broad group of industry leaders to support the ethical use of AI in legal services. Launched by the Duke Center on Law & Tech and shaped over recent months with the guidance of a widely representative steering committee, RAILS is ready to launch and grow. Leaders from across the legal services industry, including the judiciary, private corporations, law firms, tech providers, non-profit organizations, and more are invited to this highly inclusive and participatory network.

AI technology is already being incorporated into legal and legal-adjacent services. However, despite the front-page news stories and widespread hype, there are currently limited workable best practices for how to responsibly and ethically apply AI in a legal setting. The legal services industry needs RAILS to move AI forward while keeping the integrity of legal services on track.

“We launched RAILS to provide both enthusiasm and guardrails to how AI can and should be applied in legal services,” said Jeff Ward, Director of the Duke Center on Law & Tech. He continued, “From contract analysis to litigation support to access-to-justice innovation, AI technology has entered the legal services domain and has enormous potential for positive impact if it is applied responsibly.”

Steering Committee member LeeAnn Black, COO at Latham & Watkins, added, “As with any transformational technology, ethical guidance will need to be developed and RAILS will serve as an important catalyst of this transformation by fostering an open dialogue and bringing together diverse viewpoints.”

In addition to increasing the general understanding of AI by identifying gaps in current research and areas that need further exploration, RAILS will develop guidelines and best practices and work to educate legal professionals. These guidelines will address key issues such as client confidentiality, unbiased decision-making, transparency, accountability, and more. To ensure these guidelines are practical and universally applicable, RAILS will actively seek input and feedback from a diverse range of legal professionals and technologists. Once tangible and workable solutions are identified, RAILS will create educational and training resources to help legal professionals understand AI tools, their potential applications in legal services, and the ethical considerations surrounding their use.

“The potential of AI in advancing access to justice is immense,” said Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, President and CEO of the American Arbitration Association and Strategic Advisor at the Penn Law Future of the Profession Initiative. “RAILS is a critical step towards ensuring that this technology is used not just effectively, but equitably and with a clear focus on enhancing the public’s trust in the legal system.” 

More information including the full list of initial steering committee members and an application to participate in RAILS are available at


About Responsible AI in Legal Services

Responsible AI in Legal Services (RAILS) is a collaborative network of legal services industry experts, hosted by the Duke Center on Law & Technology. RAILS’ was created to support the responsible, ethical, and safe use of AI to advance the practice of law and delivery of legal services to all. To learn more, visit

About the Duke Center on Law & Technology

The Duke Center on Law & Tech prepares students for the growing landscape of technology in the legal profession through collaboration with Duke’s innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives, engagement with entrepreneurs, and provision of educational opportunities at the intersection of technology and the law. To learn more, visit