Robot Lawyer Advances Legal Access

The year 2017 marks the rise of the robot lawyer. This new concept provides legal help using bots, which have been around since the early days of the Internet. Programmers use bots to do any type of task that can be automated. Bots perform many legitimate tasks, such as crawling the web to find information. Hackers also use bots for malicious purposes, such as Distributed Denial of Service attacks.

Bots are ripe for use by the legal industry. A robot lawyer can assist consumers with completing forms in a small claims action. Also, a robot lawyer can assist a real lawyer by performing tasks that can be automated, such as collecting information and completing documents. Like tax software, a bot asks a series of questions and takes actions based on the answers. Using artificial intelligence, a bot can carry on a conversation with a client to facilitate the opening of a case.

Limited Advice For Breach

The DoNotPay Chatbot provides assistance to consumers for various legal issues. If someone wants to dispute a parking ticket, the bot collects the required information and then generates the legal forms. Recently, the service added a function to sue Equifax in small claims court, but the service is limited (as of October 12, the service is only available for residents of California and New York).

Using a bot may not always be the best course of action, especially for a cyber breach lawsuit. Breach lawsuits are complex because of state data protection laws. Plaintiffs may need to show an injury beyond having their information stolen. Also, courts may require a plaintiff to show identify theft for standing. Further, Equifax includes $1 million dollars in identity theft insurance upon signing-up for one-year of free credit monitoring. For these reasons, a breach victim with unknown damages might be better off enrolling in Equifax’s free service before pursuing a lawsuit with a bot.

Bright Future For Bots

In the long run, both consumers and lawyers will benefit from using bots. For consumers, legal bots enable them to pursue remedies in small claims court when a lawyer is not required. For lawyers, a bot provides a virtual assistant that conveys information, performs client intake, and generates legal documents. As a result, bots will empower consumers to help themselves while improving legal services with better efficiency.

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Alice is a member of the Florida Bar, and she focuses on business and technology matters in her law practice. She attended the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. After graduating, she earned a Juris Doctor at the Stetson University College of Law. During law school, she served as an Assistant Executive Editor for Stetson Law Review and also as a Staff Editor for Stetson Journal of Advocacy and the Law. She currently serves on The Florida Bar Journal/News Editorial Board.