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There's an app for everything these days. And the worries of artificial intelligence replacing attorneys have been around for years. But are we finally seeing an end to the human divorce lawyer?
The makers of DoNotPay, a bot famous for fixing parking tickets for free, recently released 1,000 new bots into the wild, assisting people with transactional legal forms. And their next target? Your divorce.
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To be fair, our headline is a little misleading. DoNotPay, the brainchild of 19-year-old Stanford University student Joshua Browder, is not a robot in the Isaac Asimov or even Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth sense. Instead it is a chatbot, a computer program that converses in natural language, allowing users to simply state the problem they are trying to solve and assist them in finding answers. In this case, that means filling out transactional legal forms for parental leave, residential leases, and other simple issues.
And DoNotPay is certainly not a lawyer. Neither Browder nor any of his bots have attended law school, and the bots cannot represent you in any court proceeding. And while they won't charge you an arm and a leg to respond to that cease and desist letter, they probably also can't arrange the best DUI plea bargain, either.
Finally, the bots can't handle your divorce, yet. As TechCrunch reported in July, DoNotPay's solutions to more complex legal problems like bankruptcies, marriages, and divorces remain in the works, although the bots may have IBM's Watson technology for natural language interpretation and response on its side. (And, as of now, you can't even "hire" them in the traditional sense -- thus far Browder has remained committed to keeping DoNotPay free.)
You Get What You Pay For
So, the answer is currently no: you should not hire a robot divorce lawyer. Unless you're talking about your cousin Jerry, who merely talks like a robot. And if Cousin Jerry doesn't have experience handling divorce cases, you might want to turn to a specialist. Our legal directory, more search engine than bot, can hook you up with a human divorce attorney in your area.