Achieving responsible use of AI in the regulation and delivery of legal services

As the regulatory and representational body for over 13,000 solicitors, the Law Society of Scotland plays a pivotal role in upholding professional standards and ensuring that Scotland maintains a strong, successful and diverse professional workforce.

Responsible AI has various implications for the work we do representing our members and wider society, when we advocate for human rights and the rule of law, and when we seek to influence legislation and the justice system in order to promote a fairer, more just society.

In this context, we challenge researchers in this round to come up with projects that speak to how the Law Society can best lead on the development and use of responsible AI for the legal profession in Scotland. How might the Law Society best work to promote and support responsible AI approaches to technological developments that deliver tangible benefits to our members, the legal profession, and society at large? (challenge code LSS-C)

Researchers are invited to tackle this challenge from various angles, considering the Law Society’s dual roles as a regulatory and representative body. Key challenge areas might include:

How can AI help to support the robust regulation of the Scottish legal profession?

How can AI assist solicitors in understanding and adhering to their ethical and professional obligations?

How can the Law Society help guide the profession to allow AI to be confidently, responsibly, and ethically integrated into the provision of legal services for the benefit of the profession and the wider public?

How might the Law Society otherwise promote and support responsible AI approaches to technological developments that deliver tangible benefits to our members, the legal profession, and society at large?


Examples of the kinds of projects that a researcher might consider include:

  1. how AI interacts with a solicitor’s file management system and the impact or implications of human computer interactions on legal workflows and in a legal setting
  2. how issues of accountability and fairness in AI interact with current regulatory and legislative frameworks
  3. the implications that AI might have on access to justice across socioeconomic divides and levels of digital literacy

We invite research proposals from across the arts and humanities to help chart a course for the Law Society in this evolving landscape, where technology and tradition converge, with the ultimate aim of advancing a more just and proficient legal profession in Scotland.

Researchers are invited to explore innovative approaches, ethical considerations, and the broader societal implications of AI integration into the legal field. The Law Society eagerly awaits a diverse range of insights and strategies to navigate these challenges effectively.

We invite research proposals that

  • align with our wider organisational strategy outlined here
  • promote ongoing knowledge exchange and include practical solutions that are usable by the legal profession such as:
    • enhancing legal processes and solicitor workflows
    • promoting equitable access to legal services
    • developing guidelines and standards to govern the ethical and responsible use of AI in the legal profession and build confidence in the profession around responsible AI uptake
  • contain outputs tailored to the Law Society and members, including presentation sessions, participation at engagement events and roundtable discussions, briefings, guidelines, toolkits, FAQs and explainers, alongside any research papers
  • call for regular contact and engagement with the Law Society
  • benefit both legal practitioners and the broader community
  • benefit from a flexible and collaborative approach

Working Arrangements

The Law Society has a governing Council, which sits as the principal decision-making body of the organisation. The Law Society has a Board, which is made up of Council members and takes decisions on operational matters. There are also a number of committees, including the independent Regulatory Committee which is responsible for all of the Law Society’s regulatory work.

The Law Society is open to working with fellows across either, or both, of our regulatory and representational remits. There would be scope to engage with various departments depending on the needs of any particular project.

How it will work

  • If the application is successful, the Law Society will work with the fellow to refine the project plan and agree on shared goals and outcomes.
  • The Law Society will support the fellow in terms of onboarding, providing a research contact and engaging in regular meetings, and providing office space in Edinburgh for the fellow to work from as needed.
  • The Law Society is also set up for hybrid working with a high degree of flexibility being offered in relation to how much time the fellow would be on site.
  • Projects will need to incorporate outputs that are tailored to the Law Society and this may include private or public seminars, briefings, toolkits and/or explainers.
  • We expect the fellow to factor into their budget proposal travel, accommodation and subsistence costs and any specific research costs they envision.
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