DoNotPay start-up prevented from holding its first court case with an AI lawyer

Lawyers from various US states have threatened to force startup DoNotPay to refuse to hold an AI court hearing, Engadget reports.  

The startup DoNotPay has developed a chatbot to address legal issues. The startup's CEO Joshua Browder proposed using the bot at a court hearing for a traffic violation case. The bot was supposed to tell the client how to answer questions and what to say in his defence. A few days later, Browder announced that DoNotPay's participation in the hearing was postponed due to the reaction of his colleagues. State bar associations from several states sent letters to the company threatening prosecution for practising law without a licence.

Browder created the chatbot DoNotPay to help with legal letters and form filling on various legal issues, such as contesting parking fines. "The lawyer robot uses several text generators, including ChatGPT and DaVinci". 

In court, the defendant is expected to wear smart glasses that record the proceedings and a headset, through which the AI will tell him what to say. Most courtrooms in the US prohibit the use of such devices, but Browder was able to find two suitable cases.

However, due to outrage from bar associations, he withdrew his proposal and said that instead of appearing in court, the company would focus on consumer rights issues such as lowering medical bills, cancelling compulsory subscriptions and challenging credit reports.

Browder hopes that AI can still help people in the courtroom at some point.

"The truth is that most people can't afford lawyers. If you give people the ability to use tools like ChatGPT in the courtroom, it might help someone win a case," he said.

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