‘Robot Lawyer’ dragged to Court for Practicing Without License

A company thwarted from using an artificial intelligence chatbot to help defend a traffic ticket case is now getting sued for practicing law without a license.

Chicago law firm Edelson wrote in a proposed class action suit that DoNotPay — founded by Joshua Browder to help people fight smaller court disputes with arguments generated by AI — is “not actually a robot, a lawyer, nor a law firm,” the Washington Examiner reported Monday.

The proposed suit alleges the service has caused problems for its customers and in two instances, failed its clients.

The filing in San Francisco County Superior Court was made on behalf of Californian Jonathan Faridian, who said he used DoNotPay to draft demand letters, limited liability company operating agreements, and a small claims court filing — and got “substandard and poorly done” results.

“One customer, who posted an online review, used DoNotPay’s legal services to dispute two parking tickets. According to his account, his fines actually increased because DoNotPay failed to respond to the ticket summons. The customer then canceled his account, but DoNotPay continued to charge a subscription fee,” the complaint stated, according to the Washington Examiner.

Browder replied in a Twitter thread, saying that the claims lack “merit” and that Faridian has “dozens of successful consumer rights cases with DoNotPay.”

Browder has claimed the firm’s founder, Jay Edelson, “inspired me to start DoNotPay,” accusing him — and other class action lawyers — of enriching themselves while delivering only minor benefits to consumers.

DoNotPay hit the headlines when Browder tweeted that the company planned to use the “world’s first robot lawyer” to advise a defendant in traffic court, the Washington Examiner reported — triggering criticism that Browder’s claims included “threats from State Bar prosecutors” and led to DoNotPay postponing its traffic court case.

Browder now vows to defend against the complaint, tweeting, “We may even use our robot lawyer in the case.”

The lawsuit against the firm accuses it of violating California’s unfair competition law by engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, and seeks a court order declaring the company conduct unlawful and unspecified damages.