A Teenager Wants to Replace Lawyers with Robots

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The idea of robots replacing lawyers is not novel (see here, and here, and listen here). It’s a major discussion in the legal profession—whether lawyers are going the way of codes and robots and full automation. And, if one 19-year-old Brit has anything to do with it, they might.

Joshua Browder, a teenager in the UK, developed a website last year that helped people fight parking tickets (and the man). He stepped his site up a notch this year by adding a robot that not only helps consumers fight parking tickets, but also flight delays and mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) policies. The robot asks questions and, when it has the information it needs, generates a document for consumers to use in bringing their transportation appeals. The robot goes one step further and also answers legal questions (so far, the only question it answers is whether it’s legal to kill badgers in the UK—curious, if not particularly helpful). From the site:

DoNotPay has launched the UK’s first robot lawyer as an experiment. It can talk to you, generate documents and answer questions. It is just like a real lawyer, but is completely free and doesn’t charge any commission.

Well, that seems suspect. Just in case you’re a non-lawyer, reading this as a how-to manual for worldwide legal domination: stop. Try this in Minnesota, and you’re likely to get hit with an unauthorized practice of law complaint. Under Minn. Stat. Ann. § 481.02, “it shall be unlawful for any person … except members of the bar of Minnesota … to prepare legal documents … or as being engaged in advising or counseling in law … or in furnishing to others the services of a lawyer.

Take that, robot lawyers.

Featured image: “robot at desk” from Shutterstock.

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  • What about the issue of emotion, this will be something the robot can’t quantify or understand and that issues a problem with the robot dealing with complex legal issues.

    • You don’t think an algorithm can simulate empathy and sympathy? It would probably be an upgrade from some of the lawyers I’ve seen.

  • EarlyMedievalSerf

    90% of my fee is earned not from ‘legal’ work but rather, taking clients texts, emails and phone call at all hours of the day and night, listening to them vent, counseling them on issues that are only tangentially legally related, and otherwise just being a consigliere like in the Godfather movie, except that I don’t have one client, I have many. At the end of the day, this ridiculously stressful and awful profession is nothing more than a service profession, and when that god damn phone rings, you better answer it.