- The DoNotPay app uses AI and ChatGPT technology that consumers can use to do things like challenge bills.
- DoNotPay wants to put AI to the test in the courts and plans to use it to advise defendants in trafficking cases.
- Judges could alert bars to a rogue “robot lawyer” on the loose, legal experts have said.
Judges rarely tolerate defendants appearing before them wearing headphones, let alone AirPods that secretly power them in court.
But DoNotPay founder Joshua Browder plans to subject his app’s ‘robo lawyer’ to such a test in an upcoming traffic court case in February, according to a New Scientist report announcing the first defense powered by AI in court.
To sweeten the deal for its accused guinea pigs who, unbeknownst to the court, will recite advice from the AI program, DoNotPay will also pay the fines they will be stuck with, according to the report.
The case could create bizarre scenarios and expose defendants to potential contempt of court charges, legal experts told Insider.
For example, what if an accused takes too long to answer a question while the AI program is offering an answer, or if they can’t explain an argument they just repeated to the court ? What if the court suspects wrongdoing and orders the defendant to remove the headset and he refuses to comply?
“If this device picks up what the judge is saying, analyzes it, and suggests what to say to the judge, it’s going to take time,” said Richard Marcus, a professor at the recently renamed UC College of the Law, San Francisco. . “The traffic court judge might have questions about who is really speaking here.”
Browder did not respond to Insider’s LinkedIn message and Twitter DM seeking comment on Monday.
States also have what are called “unauthorized practice of law” rules that restrict who can provide official legal advice and represent parties in court.
State bar associations, which can enforce these rules through legal action, have previously questioned whether certain legal advice books and computer programs have taken their help too far. Judges can also refer issues brought before them to law societies for prosecution, Marcus said.
As Browder courted headlines with the bold move to take DoNotPay’s “robot lawyer” to court, he also tweeted out an incredible offer on Sunday. “DoNotPay will pay $1,000,000 to any lawyer or person with an upcoming case in the United States Supreme Court to wear AirPods and let our robot lawyer argue the case by repeating exactly what he says,” a- he tweeted.
It’s one thing to experiment with defendants, but for lawyers using such a program in court – any court, let alone the highest in the land – the reputational and professionalism issues could be serious. Lawyers are required to represent clients to the best of their abilities and to maintain the confidentiality of client information.
“If a third party is involved, are you breaching your obligation to your customer because you are no longer using your capacity?” said Morgan Stringer, an attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina. “When you disclose facts to this service, would it breach confidentiality?”
“I don’t know of any judge who would allow me to have airpods on while making oral submissions,” she said. “I would never do that in a million years.”