DoNotPay Shuts Down Plans to Use AI Lawyer in Court After Jail Threats

Robot lawyers might one day be a reality—but not anytime soon. Several weeks ago, consumer rights startup DoNotPay announced plans to use AI chatbots to give two of its clients realtime legal advice and instruction in traffic court proceedings. DoNotPay suspended those plans Wednesday: CEO Joshua Browder posted on Twitter that “after receiving threats from State Bar prosecutors, it seems likely they will put me in jail for 6 months if I follow through with bringing a robot lawyer into a physical courtroom.” DoNotPay had previously declined to say in which states’ courtrooms it would try out its tech stunt, since a license to practice law is required in order to represent parties in court as well as provide official legal advice (not to mention many states prohibiting recording courtroom hearings ). The company had planned to make clients wear nondescript “smart glasses” that look just like ordinary spectacles. Through a process called “bone conduction” that many hearing aids use, the glasses would have enabled the AI-powered chatbot to “speak” to the client and guide them through the case.

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