Lawyer Bot Short-Circuited by Class Action Alleging Unauthorized Practice of Law
Friday, March 17, 2023

Many of us are wondering how long it will take for ChatGPT, the revolutionary chatbot by OpenAI, to take our jobs. The answer: perhaps, not as soon as we fear!

On March 3, 2023, Chicago law firm Edelson P.C. filed a complaint against DoNotPay, self-described as “the world’s first robot lawyer.” Edelson may have short-circuited the automated barrister’s circuits by filing a lawsuit alleging the unauthorized practice of law.

DoNotPay is marketed as an AI program intended to assist users in need of legal services, but who do not wish to hire a lawyer. The organization was founded in 2015 to assist users in disputing parking tickets. Since then, DoNotPay’s services have expanded significantly. The company’s website offers to help users fight corporations, overcome bureaucratic obstacles, locate cash and “sue anyone.”

In spite of those lofty promises, Edelson’s complaint counters by pointing out certain deficiencies, stating, “[u]nfortunately for its customers, DoNotPay is not actually a robot, a lawyer, or a law firm. DoNotPay does not have a law degree, is not barred in any jurisdiction and is not supervised by any lawyer.”

The suit was brought by plaintiff Jonathan Faridian, who claims to have used DoNotPay for legal drafting projects, demand letters, one small claims court filing and drafting an employment discrimination complaint. Faridian’s complaint explains he was under the impression that he was purchasing legal documents from an attorney, only to later discover that the “substandard” outcomes generated did not comport with his expectations.

When asked for comment, DoNotPay’s representative denied Faridian’s allegations, explaining the organization intends to defend itself “vigorously.”

 

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