Gartner predicts that by 2020 more than 85% of customer interactions will not include a human being.
Chatbots are beginning to make headway in the legal profession as a way to answer basic questions from clients and free up lawyers to deal with more complex matters. Even more promisingly, in some cases, chatbots are able to provide help to clients that may otherwise not have been able to afford legal services.
In recent years, there has been a lot of hype around chatbots such as DoNotPay which enables clients to receive legal assistance without a lawyer or even talking to a real person. The field of legal chatbots has since expanded and now encompasses a diverse group of bots that use different methods and have different target audiences. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
One of the first legal chatbots was DoNotPay, which was developed by Stanford University student, Joshua Browder. It is now perhaps the most recognisable name of any legal chatbot.
The bot was initially designed to help fight parking tickets (it’s helped to save motorists a total of $13 million in parking fines) but has since become known as “the world’s first robot lawyer.” On its website, you can challenge parking tickets from around the United States as well as get refunds when the price of an aeroplane ticket drops after you’ve purchased it.
The chatbot itself is fairly simple. First, you select your region and give the reason why you want to challenge it. The chat-box then pops up and asks you for the relevant legal information, which enables the bot to draft a document for you. The chat is short. The whole process is only a few minutes long and is very straightforward.
Visabot is a legal chatbot designed to help with multiple immigration issues in the United States. Residing on Facebook Messenger, you can message the bot directly to get started. You can select different options including getting a green card, a B2 extension, or a H-1B transfer. The bot asks factual questions with pre-written responses that you can choose from. It inputs these facts and uses decision trees to evaluate your eligibility and then directs you to its service.
Parker was the first Australian law firm chatbot developed to give basic answers to questions about changes to the law on data protection and privacy. It was aimed at businesses dealing with new legislation which stated that companies must notify customers about data breaches or face fines of up to A$2.1m.
The aim of the chatbot was to provide an alternative to billing customers by the hour for lawyers to answer even basic questions such as “How do I deal with a data breach?” Once a client has asked a question the chatbot will direct them to three fixed price legal advice packages if they need more detailed information.
As to whether the chatbot is a success, let’s just say it was responsible for engaging in 1000 conversations and selling A$15,000 of different types of advice in its first 24 hours.
LawDroid isn’t a chatbot per se, but a platform created to enable law firms to mould LawDroid’s chatbot prototype to serve a firm’s particular needs. These bots share the same basic structure and interface and are programmed to answer FAQs or direct users to resources. Rather than using natural language processing, these bots use pre-programmed commands and choices to triage and inform potential clients. Despite being a chatbot, LawDroid bots attempt to seem more human and personal, using emojis and casual language.
The chatbot’s we’ve explored in this blog are just a handful of the legal chatbots out there. But while clients may be demanding more flexible and on-demand services, we’ve still got a way to go before chatbots become a mainstream adoption for all legal firms.
Many organisations are still struggling to understand the art of the possible, where to start and how to make AI infused technologies integrate with their existing systems and data. To understand how a chatbot could work in your legal firm, take a look at ANS’ chatbot blueprint.