A robot lawyer that has helped hundreds of thousands of drivers beat traffic tickets without having to use an attorney has announced plans to expand into other practice areas.
The legal chatbot DoNotPay is branching into nearly one thousand additional legal areas, including consumer rights, employment law and landlord-tenant disputes, according to the ABA Journal.
The company also plans to expand into entirely new fields, including medicine.
DoNotPay started out helping people with parking tickets. It made news in 2016 when it said it helped overturn tickets for more than 160,000 drivers in the US and UK. The numbers have skyrocketed since.
“Half of all parking tickets are dismissed in New York,” Justin Browder, the designer of DoNotPay, told Mashable. “Previously, the main way to correct this unfairness was to pay a lawyer hundreds of dollars to copy and paste a document. DoNotPay gives more people a way to stand up for their rights.”
Earlier, DoNotPay expanded into tenancy cases for homeless people and asylum claims for refugees. But the latest expansion is by far the most sweeping enlargement of the company’s scope.
How it Works
DoNotPay asks online users a series of questions relating to their legal issues and generates a letter or form they can submit to the relevant authorities.
Browder says he needed only a few months during summer vacation to design the parking ticket bot, but it took nearly a year to build the one for immigration. He says the chatbot uses natural language to ask questions of the user and auto-fill forms the user will need.
“The benefit of a chatbot comes from the fact that many people are really terrible at describing their legal problems,” says Browder. “There are lots of ways to do it but only one legal way. The chatbot can translate human input into legally correct input.”
Chatbots are evolving. Some say the technology is vulnerable to scammers, others argue it limits access to justice.
Browder says, why stop at the law? He wants chatbots scurrying around in all professions.
“Lawyers are confined by their law degrees,” Browder says. “But a chatbot doesn’t have to stop between industries. They can diagnose medical or psychological illnesses and also help users get legal help.”
· ABA Journal: “Are the Robot Lawyers Coming?” http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/talking_tech_chatbot_legal_services
· ABA Journal “DoNotPay” http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/donotpay_legal_chatbot_now_covers_1000_areas_of_the_law_and_creates_additio