LawDroid, the legal bot pioneer, has helped to develop a new bot with Washington State law firm, Palace Law, that helps clients gather essential information about personal injury claims in the workplace.
The objective of the bot is not to give legal advice, but instead to provide a ‘legal health check’ to make sure potential clients are not missing out on their legal rights, or to find if they have omitted key steps in the claims procedure, which most people would not be aware of.
After a detailed Q&A process the client receives information and guidance on the matter, helping them to see what they need to do next, and what legal routes may still be open to them. In short, it provides what one could call ‘justice visibility’. I.e. you can’t really have access to justice until people know what is available to them and what rights they actually have, which are often buried behind legal jargon or in statutes they have no easy access to.
As is explained below: a client cannot leverage the law if they simply don’t know about the law that relates to them and their matter, i.e. how can society expect to see an equitable legal environment when many people don’t even have a way of finding out their legal rights in detail, or what they can do about them?
(And before you say: simple, get them to ask a lawyer, remember that most people will avoid speaking to a lawyer in person because they fear that the dreaded ‘taxi meter’ will be started before they even decide to make a claim or get into the details of the matter.)
This is therefore another great example of using an automated, expert and interactive system, i.e. a legal chat bot, to provide clients with useful information that increases access to justice and also will no doubt act as a useful business development tool for Palace Law. After all, why wouldn’t you want to work with a law firm that had already been so useful to you in clarifying the legal issues around your problem and explaining the steps involved? And for free, at least at this stage of the client journey.
Artificial Lawyer has to say every law firm on the planet should be utilising outward-facing legal bots like this, just as every law firm today now has a website. Whether you are a small firm working with consumers, or a large commercial firm working with banks and corporates, legal bots are a useful tool that act as a triage mechanism and a business development platform that maintains engagement and answers standard, but important, legal queries.
Artificial Lawyer asked Tom Martin the founder of LawDroid and Patrick Palace, name partner of the Palace Law Firm a bit more about this initiative:
How did this come about?
Tom: It started with a Twitter conversation. Patrick Palace, who is a workers compensation lawyer in Tacoma, Washington, had attended an Evolve Law event where I had given a talk about my company LawDroid and the potential uses for chatbots in the legal industry and we struck up a conversation about how to create a useful chatbot for injured workers.
Patrick: The PatBot was the brainchild of both of us, we wanted to design an access to justice tool that gave injured workers all the tools they needed to succeed, for free.
How do you see the bot helping people?
Tom: Patrick was clear when we started working on the project together that he wanted to build a resource using the chatbot to help injured Washington workers identify their legal issues and give them information and tools to take action for themselves, even if they didn’t hire a lawyer.
Patrick: Injured workers need a source of information about their rights and remedies that they can turn to whenever they need it. The PatBot is designed to meet this need 24/7
The PatBot was created to provide not just greater access to the law, but to provide no cost legal tools for injured workers who are navigating the legal system without representation.
The Patbot is designed to analyze any Worker’s Compensation case, highlight the critical issues, provide the law surrounding those issues and give injured workers a toolbox of pleadings, forms, letters and links so they can successfully navigate the system on their own.
Will this grow / expand into other areas / capabilities?
Tom: This legal health check concept, as implemented in PatBot, is one that lends itself to many potential applications. It is easy to imagine having a legal health check for someone seeking a divorce or child custody, having landlord problems, disputing a debt, or planning their estate. It helps remedy the situation where a potential client doesn’t know what they don’t know – by identifying issues, providing them with a helpful information and a means to take action.
LawDroid will seek to expand this offering into additional practice areas and incorporate additional capabilities, such as voice, to improve the overall client experience.
How long did it take to build this to a client use level?
Tom: Patrick and I wanted to make sure we delivered real value for the user so it took us a year. We experimented with several different approaches and tested each. I really appreciated Patrick’s insight, sense of his client’s concerns and his willingness to go the extra mile to get it right. In the end, I think we hit the mark and I’m very proud of LawDroid’s collaboration with Patrick Palace and Palace Law in creating a small but concrete contribution toward filling the access to justice gap.
Thanks! Good luck with the project. It’s great.
P.S. if you’d like to have a go and see what a legal bot like this can do, check it out here