An Internet bot, also known as web robot, or simply a bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks, called scripts, over the Internet, which are otherwise simple or structurally repetitive (enter paper shuffling sounds).
Sounds like something you’d want in a law office, doesn’t it?
It turns out, somebody else thought so, too. Joshua Browder, a Stanford student born in the United Kingdom, created a “bot attorney” to help hundreds of people dispute parking tickets in London and New York City.
In fact, Browder told Venture Beat that he had successfully challenged 160,000 of 250,000 British parking tickets as of June with his bot DoNotPay. The same parking-lot hero bot helped 9,000 New Yorkers.
Here’s how it works. You log on to donotpay.co.uk and chat with a bot (don’t forget, he’s just an automated robot) that asks questions like, “Was it hard to understand the signs?” or “Do you think the parking lot was too small.” If a parking lot is legally too small, it is unreasonable to ticket drivers.
“I think the people getting parking tickets are the most vulnerable in society,” said Browder.
“These people aren’t looking to break the law. I think they’re being exploited as a revenue source by the local government.”
And that’s how bots help busy drivers.
But that’s not the only area where the Victor Frankenstein of legal help hopes to affect change.
“I feel like there’s a gold mine of opportunities because so many services and information could be automated using AI [artificial intelligence], and bots are a perfect way to do that, and it’s disappointing at the moment that it’s mainly used for commerce transactions by ordering flowers and pizzas,” Bowder said to Venture Beat.
As a result, Browder is working on a bot to help people with HIV understand their legal rights, a bot to help collect compensation for people whose flights were delayed beyond four hours, and a bot that helps refugees apply for asylum (part of the Highland Capital summer startup accelerator program). For the latter, Bowder will use IBM’s Watson to translate from Arabic to English.
Bowder and his bots are a bone fide legal aids at this point; In August, Bowder unveiled a bot to help people apply for emergency housing. His pro bono actions will help combat homelessness in a way thousands of law school grads could not.
By consulting some real-life lawyers and analyzing FOIA-obtained documents, Bowder hopes to “figure out trends in why public housing applications are approved or denied,” according to Slate.
Although this latter venture may require less automation and more human attorneys to take full effect, it’s an amazing start to ending a real-world epidemic.
Outsourcing repetitive work to robot lawyers can no longer be seen as a trend to look out for; it’s a reality (law) practice faces today.
Did you first hear about “bots” from your Millennial colleagues? Millennials, the group of tech-toting, flip-flop wearing adults born after 1980, have been the subject of eye-rolling. They’ve been stereotyped as expecting rewards just for participating and believing that spending long hours at the office is overrated.
Yet, legal professionals say that depiction as applied to their younger colleagues is wrong. In fact, they may work differently, taking full advantage of technology, like bots, making them smart and productive.
Properly incentivizing and compensating this new generation of lawyers is essential for your firm’s profitability, retention and key to attracting like-minded clients.
Take C4CM’s webinar, “Compensating Millennial Associates: Customizing Compensation and Rewards for Increased Productivity and Firm Profitability,” and explore real-life methods for embracing the goals, expectations and ambitions of today’s millennial associates, and how to ‘meet in the middle’ when it comes to compensating this new generation.
During this power-packed session, our expert faculty will examine the most current factors affecting millennial associate compensation, including:
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Plus, in just 75 minutes, you will learn:
- Surprising attitudes millennial lawyers have about total compensation
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