What are Chatbots?
Chatbots are essentially systems which artificially simulate a response by an actual person with dialogue based text. Chatbots exist either as an independent user interface or integrating itself with an existing messaging system.
This is not really groundbreaking. Eliza, the first chatbot in the world, was built more than 50 years ago by German-American computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum. Technological advancement has allowed chatbots to become smarter.
The chatbot would analyze the question asked by the user on the end. The chatbot responds to it by reverting to a database with prefabricated comments. With various prepared templates, the chatbot would then insert the information accordingly. Thus a chatbot is a personal assistant available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Customer support has seen much use of chatbots in recent years. They serve as an intuitive and automated way of delivering the FAQs on various websites. Legal chatbots could be the next big thing. They answer to legal questions and generate legal documents at the push of a button.
Here are 5 legal chatbots:
The story starts with Joshua Browder receiving several dozen tickets for false parking in London, he then read up the law to learn how to avoid a penalty. In time, he became an expert in an area most lawyers tend to ignore.
Soon enough, friends and family began to seek assistance from him. To save time, he programmed a chatbot which answered the questions posed to him. Joshua called this chatbot DoNotPay.
DoNotPay asks a number of questions and generates a complaint. DoNotPay then sends this complaint to the relevant authority. This helps clear up any doubt the user may have about the ticket’s legality.
Since its release, DoNotPay has successfully challenged several hundred thousand tickets in London and New York. This in turn has spared the alleged traffic offenders a total of seven million US dollars in penalties. Consequently, BBC has therefore voted him the “Robin Hood of the Internet”.
A group of law students from Cambridge, led by German Ludwig Konrad Bull had noticed that only a few citizens know which rights they are entitled to as a victim of a crime and what to do afterwards. Therefore, the students programmed LawBot which is a chatbot giving preliminary legal assessment.
LawBot works by assessing whether the behaviour in question is actually relevant ito criminal law. Should the affected person decide to report the incident, the chatbot creates a written summary from the information given and shows the location of the nearest police station.
This chatbot has helped reportedly over 50,000 users so far to obtain their residence permits for the United States. Fittingly, two immigrants are the brains behind this chatbot.
As a tongue in cheek, Visabot’s tagline is to help immigrants make America great again (Humour intended).
Visabot works by collecting data from the conversation, and also pulling all relevant open data from the public domain. Visabot also estimates the eligibility for a visa and offers hints to improve the probability of the case.
Entrepreneurs and small businesses who may not be able to consult a lawyer are this chatbot’s main target market. This is perfect for the many startups in today’s landscape.
LISA would usually be able to generate an NDA in about 15 minutes. The unique selling point is actually the impartiality which may present a conflict of interest for a human lawyer or law firm.
LawDroid functions by asking the relevant questions and creating the necessary documents directly from the provided information. This in turn supports the incorporation of a company in the state of California.
LawDroid was created by Tom Martin, a California-based lawyer. Tom Martin is also the founder of Foresight Legal, one of the first virtual law firms in the United States.
LawDroid works with a freemium model. A user can obtain articles of incorporation for free. In addition the user could opt for Tom to file their articles of incorporation or to act as their agent for service of process. This would of course be subject to an additional fee.
The Scope of Legal Chatbots and Their Future Impact
Legal chatbots address an existing problem, and we should not underestimate their potential impact. It was reported at the FutureLaw 2017 Conference of CodeX, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics, that founder of various chatbots have already raised over 170 million US-Dollar in venture capital funding combined. This shift in market trends would eventually bleed into the legal industry as well.
The biggest challenge would be to determine the role and suitability of legal chabots. People have criticized the linearity by saying it does not include legal nuances. Chatbots might also serve as a huge breach of privacy due to their more invasive nature.
On the flip side, law firms may soon deploy chatbots to their clients to improve the communication by offering fast and uncomplicated legal assessments. Automated services have already brought convenience and access benefits to other industries and the legal world may soon be next.
We may have a day when robot lawyers and robot judges truly becoming commonplace.
Source: Legal-Tech Blog
This post is based on a German article by the author, which was published on Legal Tribune Online (LTO) under the title: Virtuelle Assistenten des Rechts.
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