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Home / News and Insights / Insights / The AI lawyer breaking boundaries: robot lawyer makes its court debut

This article was first published in Tech+, a newsletter from our tech and innovation team designed to help readers unpack complex topics in the tech space and keep up-to-date with the changes across this rapidly evolving sector. Be the first to receive the next edition and subscribe here.

We use AI every day. From Netflix recommending new shows to binge, to opening our phones with facial recognition, AI is integrated in to our lives so seamlessly that often we do not even realise we are interacting with it.

But next month we are set to see AI take the spotlight as it moves in to the professional sphere: DoNotPay’s AI lawyer will be making its court debut in order to defend two (real) recipients of speeding tickets in the US.

What is the AI lawyer and how does it work?

Described as ‘the world’s first robot lawyer’, the AI lawyer is a Chatbot app available in the UK and US, designed to provide legal advice in lieu of instructing a human lawyer.

Though initially developed simply to contest parking fines, the AI lawyer’s offering has steadily expanded. It now has the capabilities to provide advice on topics such as breaking leases and filing for bankruptcy, as well as drafting abilities for documentation pertaining to litigation, private wealth and family law matters. The user simply explains their problem to the Chatbot and the AI lawyer does the rest.

In court, things will work slightly differently. The AI lawyer will, in real time, listen to and analyse the arguments presented via the defendant’s smart phone. It will then dictate to the defendant, who will be required to wear headphones, exactly what they should say in response. The only thing the defendant has to do is repeat the advice given.

You may be wondering what happens if the AI lawyer fails to find success in these first-of-a-kind cases. DoNotPay has (ironically) agreed to pay all fines incurred if their protégé lawyer is not successful.

The future of AI and law

Whilst the AI lawyer is currently taking its first steps into court advocacy in the US, if all goes well, we may well begin to see a number of changes to the relationship between AI and law as follows.

  1. Legal advice may become more accessible. One of the biggest barriers to accessing legal advice is cost and DoNotPay charges a $36 subscription cost every three months to access the Chatbot app version of their lawyer. In cases where the cost of instructing a lawyer might outweigh the value of the claim, this could become a particularly valuable resource for the everyday person looking for advice.
  2. We may see a steady increase in the number of cases being handled by AI, especially small claims where it is not economically viable to instruct a human lawyer. Such cases may become the perfect grounds for AI lawyers to hone their talents, ready for them move onto bigger, more complex cases. Indeed, Joshua Browder, CEO of DoNotPay, envisages a greater future for his AI lawyer as he issued a fresh challenge to human lawyers in the United States: ‘DoNotPay will pay any lawyer or person $1,000,000 with an upcoming case in front of the United States Supreme Court to wear AirPods and let our robot lawyer argue the case by repeating exactly what it says.’
  3. With the applicability of AI growing at such speed, we may well see more investment into AI technologies. This could lead to AI lawyers becoming available in more jurisdictions and advancements in the technology being developed at a greater speed.

The future for AI looks bright, but whether this is a step too far, too soon remains to be seen. Stay tuned to see whether the AI lawyer will find success, or whether it will be a failure.

Visit our Tech+ webpage to learn more about AI and its growing impact on our daily lives.

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