Human lawyers shut down ‘robot lawyer’ use in US courtroom

(NewsNation) — The world’s first robot lawyer was set to take its first case in a U.S. courtroom, but that isn’t happening now.

Joshua Browder, founder of the DoNotPay app, which uses artificial intelligence, says human lawyers have chased the robot out of the courtroom.

Browder’s app utilizes artificial intelligence to “fight corporations, beat bureaucracy and sue anyone at the press of a button.” According to Browder, DoNotPay works by asking what the legal problem is, finding a legal loophole and then inserting that loophole into a legal letter. Browder had plans to take his product to a courtroom in February to help someone fighting a speeding ticket.

The app would have run on a smartphone and listened to courtroom proceedings before telling the defendant what to say through headphones. It would have marked the first time AI would be used in a physical courtroom.

But ahead of the case, Browder said he discussed the concept on Twitter and on shows including “On Balance with Leland Vittert.” He says this prompted threats of prosecution and added that he received letters in opposition to the app from several state bar associations.

“They were messaging me on Twitter, posting on Twitter, saying, ‘I’m phoning up every state bar in every city to get this shut down.’ And, unfortunately, lots of different over-regulated state bars like California … threatened us and … said, ‘If you go through with this, we’re going to prosecute you, we’re going to refer you to the district attorney, and you could get up to six months in jail,’” Browder told NewsNation host Leland Vittert on Thursday.

While DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law, Browder said the app has made some traditional lawyers feel threatened.

“Yeah, I underestimated the persistence of the greedy lawyers. I didn’t realize,” Browder told Vittert, later adding: “I feel like they feel threatened by this experiment. If the AI was to win, and we believe it was going to win, it would have encouraged courts to loosen the rules. And that’s the last thing they want.”

Still, Browder insists the app would only be used for certain cases and for consumer rights.

“We’re staying in our lane and definitely not defending people for murder. I think there have to be rules, but there’s no lawyer who’s going to get out of bed for a $500 Comcast refund. So that’s the perfect job for AI because it’s not replacing the lawyer, it’s serving an underserved … part of the legal industry,” Browder told NewsNation earlier in January.

Thursday, he continued: “I don’t want to go to jail. I’m not even from this country, originally. And so, I just want to continue my fight against corporations.”

Browder said the app aims to make legal information and self-help easier to access.

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