A chatbot that provides free legal counsel using AI is now available in all 50 states starting today. This is following its success in New York, Seattle, and the UK, where it was invented by British entrepreneur Joshua Browder. Browder, who calls his invention “the world’s first robot lawyer,” estimates the bot has helped defeat 375,000 parking tickets in a span of two years.
Browder, a junior at Stanford University, tells The Verge via Twitter that his chatbot could potentially experience legal repercussions from the government, but he is more concerned with competing with lawyers. “The legal industry is more than a 200 billion dollar industry, but I am excited to make the law free,” says Browder. “Some of the biggest law firms can’t be happy!”
Browder believes that his chatbot could also save government officials time and money. “Everybody can win,” he says, “I think governments waste a huge amount of money employing people to read parking ticket appeals. DoNotPay sends it to them in a clear and easy to read format.”
Browder sped up the making of DoNotPay by creating a bot builder for himself to quickly drag and drop documents and automate bot creation. Then, he recruited volunteer and part-time lawyers to help him with the legal aspect of the tool. To deal with the differences between state laws, he had to work with lawyers and charities to make locality-specific bots and detect the user’s location to show only relevant local bots.
You can type in questions like “I got an unfair parking ticket,” or requests for legal compensation from an airline or reporting discrimination, for a total of 1,000 different categories, although results only pop up for certain keywords. If the chatbot successfully directs you to the appropriate issue, it can then generate an appeal letter for you that you can sign and print.
The letters include language like “I believe that the court should exercise fairness in cancelling a ticket that...is perfectly justified to be cancelled,” and “I feel that the issue of a ticket is an unlawful action inconsistent with precedent.” But if you stump the bot, it triggers a prompt: “Need extra help?” It then provides a rather unhelpful link back to Google.