Yesterday Facebook announced its new Messenger Platform, including Bots for Messenger. Basically this makes it easier to built an intelligent-seeming algorithm—a chat bot—that can interact with anyone who contacts it on Facebook Messenger.

So let’s do a thought exercise. Let’s say people wanted to use Facebook Messenger to communicate with you about legal matters. What sort of bot could you build to help them?

Here are a few ideas off the top of my head to get you started:

  • Appointment scheduling (maybe including accepting payments for paid consultations).
  • Intake triage (i.e., identifying the people you might be able to help and referring the ones you can’t to other resources).
  • Document assembly for basic documents (like Shake, but more interactive).
  • Intake automation (i.e., collecting the basic information you need to evaluate claims).
  • Look up cases on CaseText or federal law on LII.

Should you built a bot? It’s probably a matter of days before some lawyer will, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. But if you can automate a process through a bot, you can probably automate it through your website or well enough to outsource it, or just make your own procedures more efficient, which is why this might be a valuable thought exercise.

Just try not to build a neo-Nazi bot like Microsoft did.

Featured image: “Retro styled robotic toy with square head” from Shutterstock.

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