DoNotPay is an AI chatbot which gives legal advice and help, thus bypassing the insane legal fees of going to a lawyer. The application has high ambitions and strong moral convictions. In the words of the creator, Joshua Browder, ‘it seems the only people benefiting from injustice are a handful of lawyers. I hope that DoNotPay … will ultimately give everyone the same legal power as the richest in society.’
Currently most legal aid is limited to parking fines, making claims against some major companies and links to legal charities, however. Its use is also restricted to the USA and UK.
The application which promises to bring justice to those who can’t afford it
DoNotPay has already saved millions of dollars for its users
DoNotPay is a chatbot which gives free legal aid, potentially saving its users thousands of dollars in legal fees. By communicating your case to the chatbot (including sending relevant photos), it can create a legal document for you to send to whichever party has wronged you. The chatbot will ask you questions to determine whether or not you have a case. A classic example would be: “Is there any important information missing on your parking fine e.g. no vehicle registration?” You can then upload a photo of the ticket, telling the chatbot precisely what is missing. After this, you can choose how to submit the document (by email or post).
DoNotPay is a great tool and the concept is excellent. Justice should be available to everybody, not just the rich. It certainly is a real money-saver when it comes to parking tickets (certainly the app’s forte, for the time-being at least). The app advertises being able to “sue anybody”. The ethics behind this idea are debatable but what is certain is this wildly oversells the ability of the application. The claim may be upheld through the ‘legal loophole’ of it offering to connect you with 3rd party charities (who may or may not take up your case) but don’t expect to be able to whizz off letters of intent to your classmates anytime soon.
The app does have some templates ready-for-use against major American companies you may deal with, such as the phone companies Verizon and AT&T. Lawyers outside of the USA and the UK can sleep easy as the application is not available anywhere else. The legal advice itself may be free but the application itself isn’t. It comes with a relatively low monthly charge but the months add up and if you’re not racking up speeding fines then it may not be worth the subscription cost.
Where can you run this program?
At the moment, you can only run this program on iPhone. They are working on creating versions for Android and web, however. You can sign up on their website to get early access (an email notification) when they are released. Being only accessible on iPhone is a clear pitfall of this program. If you don’t have an iPhone, it means you have to find a friend who does. This isn’t only ruddy annoying for users, it’s also a big negative from DoNotPay’s perspective who are massively reducing their potential audience. Of course they know all this, and changes are on the horizon!
Is there a better alternative?
Put simply, no there isn’t. There are many legal apps out there, and some really great ones. You can find legal libraries such as FastCase and iLegalLegislation. There are apps to help analyze rental agreements, watch interesting legal talks, generate contracts, and more. The closest app might be DocuBot which helps you to create your own legal documents. It scans through legal websites and analyzes information which may be useful to include in your document. It’s more of a tool than an all-in-one solution, however. When it come to contesting your parking fines or making claims against certain companies, DoNotPay has the monopoly.
DoNotPay has helped overturn more than 160,000 parking tickets. It’s an excellent app at doing what it does and it has no rivals. “What it does” is somewhat limited for now, as are the countries you can use it in, and the devices from which you can access it (only iPhone).
Should you download it?
Yes, if you are in the niche to which this application applies then it could be a real money-saver. Even if you are not, keep an eye on this app as it may have a few hundred more case templates and a dozen more countries to add but the idea is sound. This isn’t cutting-edge technology but it’s great use of pre-existing technology. Applications like these could help to fix many of the systemic problems we face in the world. It’s already helping but to really make waves, it needs to expand. Remember the name DoNotPay, it could come in handy one day!