Free robot lawyer helps low-income people tackle more than 1,000 legal issues

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Shady businesses, you’re on notice. This robot lawyer is coming after you if you play dirty.

Noted legal aid chatbot DoNotPay just announced a massive expansion, which will help users tackle issues in 1,000 legal areas entirely for free. The new features, which launched on Wednesday, cover consumer and workplace rights, and will be available in all 50 states and the UK. 

While the bot will still help drivers contest parking tickets and refugees apply for asylum, the service will now also help those who want to report harassment in the workplace or who simply want a refund on a busted toaster.

“The expansion is into consumer rights, from fighting your landlord to getting a refund when something isn’t delivered on time,” says DoNotPay creator Joshua Browder. “I think businesses should be forced to treat consumers better, and consumer rights bots will hopefully change that.”

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Image: Courtesy of Joshua Browder

Lawyers, after all, are notoriously expensive. But DoNotPay’s lawyers are free. And these automated lawyers are especially helpful for low-income individuals who need to fight common legal issues. 

“I hope DoNotPay gives more people a way to stand up for their rights.”

Through DoNotPay, a user has a simple, instant message-like conversation with a bot by typing their issue in their own words. Even colorful complaints like, “My airline screwed me” will be registered by the system.

Then, a virtual lawyer decides how to best help a user based on their answers to a series of questions. The bot usually crafts a claims letter with the the information provided, potentially saving hundreds of dollars in legal fees. DoNotPay can also connect users to outside aid, like a nonprofit that provides pro bono representation or avenues for action in more serious cases.

The legal guidance is free, instant, and — in some cases — life-changing.

https%3A%2F%2Fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fuploads%2Fcard%2Fimage%2F533089%2F885bd9b2 93ac 4746 8458 56892bcb3a6d Free robot lawyer helps low income people tackle more than 1,000 legal issues

Image: Courtesy of Joshua Browder

DoNotPay was created two years ago by Browder, a London-born Stanford student, after he had to fight his own parking tickets. He says he witnessed how many lawyers “exploit human misery” for profit, especially impacting low-income people.

The bot was Browder’s way to cheat the bias system, creating a free way for people to tackle legal issues. According to Browder, DoNotPay’s success rate is about 55 percent, meaning the machine is pretty good at what it does.

https%3A%2F%2Fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fuploads%2Fcard%2Fimage%2F533085%2F99a6cb91 d573 492d 9362 776244da77ba Free robot lawyer helps low income people tackle more than 1,000 legal issues

Image: COURTESY OF JOSHUA BROWDER

Ultimately, Browder hopes DoNotPay’s new expansion helps level the legal playing field, giving all people the same power as the richest in society. 

“I think the world is such an unfair place,” he says. “Credit card companies charge the poor more for the same thing. Employers don’t respect the right to maternity leave. Half of all parking tickets are dismissed in New York. Previously, the main way to correct this unfairness was to pay a lawyer hundreds of dollars to copy and paste a document. I hope DoNotPay gives more people a way to stand up for their rights.”

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