Legal Chatbots: Advancing Technology and Lawyers of the Future


Over the last couple of years, chatbots have become increasingly popular in the context of legal services.[1] Chatbots are a form of technology that allows for people to interact with software in the form of a conversation without requiring that the user have technological expertise.[2] In the legal context, chatbots can, among other things, assist in obtaining legal information, filling out and filing forms, and performing client intake.[3] The questions that this and other technological advancements raise are whether and how access to legal information and services through such platforms will affect the need for human lawyers in the future.[4]

Legal chatbots can be used to help a user with a wide variety of legal issues, including resolving parking tickets, assisting in early-stage divorce proceedings, creating corporations, and even predicting case outcomes.[5] All that the user has to do is enter his or her legal issue in plain language, and the chatbot – depending on its specific programming – will help resolve the issue.[6] The chatbot does this by providing information with which the user can resolve the issue, by recommending attorneys that specialize in such matters, or by automatically populating a form based on the user responses which can then be filed to initiate or resolve the matter.[7]

When faced with such advances in legal technology and artificial intelligence, many attorneys worry that the new technology will lower the demand for human attorneys, which cost more to employ than a computer program.[8] In addition to the lower cost, potential clients may feel that the technology is more reliable than human lawyers, as it is not susceptible to human error.[9]

The common response to this concern is that although technology may be able to perform many of the tasks that attorneys do in their day-to-day work, it cannot replace attorneys completely.[10] The reason for this is that while technology may perform certain actions that help to improve lawyer efficiency, it cannot perform entire legal tasks from start to finish.[11] However, chatbots have the ability to perform certain legal tasks from start to finish with even a legally unsophisticated user’s input.[12] One must, therefore, ask whether the widespread use of such technology will have an impact on the legal industry.[13]

The answer to this is that the continuing advancement of legal technology will likely have a strong impact on the legal industry.[14] Currently, law firms have two primary sides to their business:  one is an “advisory business,” which uses attorneys’ “experience and commercial knowledge” to help clients decide what legal or business path to take, and the other is a “process business,” which refers to the implementation of straightforward legal procedure to obtain the desired result.[15] The existence of technologies which can perform entire tasks on their own, such as legal chatbots, will likely end up replacing the “process business” of law firms.[16] However, by doing so, these technological advancements will allow law firms to focus more on their “advisory business,” which is the portion of legal work for which “the highest premiums can be charged.”[17]

Technological advancements will likely affect how the legal industry looks in the future.[18] Given the advent of legal chatbots, which demonstrate the ability of technology to perform legal tasks from start to finish, technology may not be limited to assisting human lawyers in such tasks.[19] By taking over the “process” side of legal work, technology allows attorneys to focus on the “advisory” side of their work, while also increasing the general population’s access to justice through lowered costs and improved efficiency of reaching legal resolutions.[20]

[1] See Robert Ambrogi, DoNotPay Adds 1,000 Legal Bots, Plus Service for Others to Create Their Own, Above the Law (July 17, 2017),

[2] See The Whats & Why of Chatbots, Botpress, (last visited Apr. 25, 2018).

[3] See Robert Ambrogi, This Week in Legal Tech: Everyone’s Talking About Chatbots, Above the Law (Apr. 17, 2017),

[4] See generally Shannon Liao, ‘World’s First Robot Lawyer’ Now Available in all 50 States, The Verge (July 12, 2017),

[5] See Legal Chatbots, CICERO: Law Pack (Aug. 1, 2017),

[6] See id.

[7] See id.

[8] See Artificial Intelligence Won’t Replace Lawyers — It Will Free Them, L. Tech. Today (Feb. 27, 2018), [hereinafter “L. Tech. Today].

[9] See Dan Mangan, Lawyers Could Be the Next Profession To Be Replaced By Computers, CNBC (Feb. 17, 2017),

[10] See L. Tech. Today, supra note 8.

[11] See id.

[12] See Ambrogi, supra note 3.

[13] See id.

[14] See Technology and the Evolution of the Legal Industry: A Perspective from the International Bar Association by Tim Hughes, Deputy Executive Director, International Bar Association (IBA), Law Today (June 23, 2017), [hereinafter Law Today].

[15] See id.

[16] See id.

[17] See id.

[18] See id.

[19] See Ambrogi, supra note 3.

[20] See Law Today, supra note 14; see also Access to Justice, U.S. D.O.J., (last visited Apr. 27, 2018).


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Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law