Chatbots — which use pre-programmed phrases or AI algorithms to read and respond to customers via live chat — have become a common customer service a data-gathering tool for businesses around the internet. These bots, while not as intelligent as a human, can provide quick responses to queries and gather information on what a client needs, even if no human representative is available to chat.
These bots, because of their data-gathering and question-answering abilities, are also extremely useful for legal organizations.
Here are six applications of legal chatbots that are being used right now.
1. Directing Users to Site Content
Over the past few years, some firms and legal organizations have started to maintain blogs and host content on their website. As a result, many of these organizations have created in-depth archives of legal resources that can be extremely useful for visitors and potential clients. A search tool, however, may only get visitors so far. Visitors may also not even be aware that the content is available.
A chatbot can steer visitors in the right direction. When asked for advice or to answer a simple question, the bot can quickly scan through the various articles, resources and tools that a firm has available on their website. It can then present visitors with a shortlist of the most relevant content that’s available.
Filling Out Paperwork
It’s not uncommon for people without legal expertise to be quickly overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork they may need to handle. Chatbots can help keep people on track by automatically filling out paperwork. This is the purpose of a divorce law chatbot built by the creator of the DoNotPay bot, which helps people handle parking tickets. The divorce bot uses information from chat prompts to fill out court forms, significantly reducing the amount of work needed.
3. Responding to Complaints
Other chatbots can also help visitors quickly respond to legal complaints — valuable in the U.S., where individuals may have just three weeks to respond. For example, there is SoloSuit, which was designed to help individuals prepare a response to debt-related lawsuits and file correctly. The bot also directs users to legal resources they can use once they’ve filed their response.
4. Answering Simple Questions
Chatbots can also serve as a kind of smarter frequently-asked-questions list, providing internal clients with quick information topics that they may not be familiar with.
If a visitor has a simple question or needs a definition for a legal term they can send a quick request off to the chatbot and receive an answer. If their problem is more complex and they’ll need some real legal advice, the chatbot can put them in touch with a lawyer or schedule them for a call.
For example, the legal team at GSK uses a chatbot to answer questions on information compliance from internal business clients.
These kinds of bots can be useful for larger firms that are fielding many of the same, simple questions from internal clients, and don’t have time to respond to each and every one. They can also be effective for legal firms that don’t provide an alternative to calling to schedule meetings and receive information. Sixty-four percent of people prefer texting to calling, and chatbots are always available for a text.
5. Automated Document Generation
Chatbots, even with the most advanced language-parsing technology available, are not lawyers and can’t handle complex legal cases or provide real legal support. They can, however, take care of simpler, repetitive tasks — freeing up attorneys and firm staff for more important work.
For example, creating contracts and legal documents is often tedious work that involves adjusting boilerplate legal text with relevant information. Legal chatbots. which are widely used to automate contract, policy and legal document generation, can help lawyers avoid some of this work.
Robot Lawyer Lisa can be used to generate binding non-disclosure agreements. The Spanish-speaking bot Legaliboo uses Facebook Messenger interviews to generate legal documents. It’s also common for general-purpose legal chatbots to offer some kind of automated contract and document generation.
Collecting Information on Client Needs
Chatbots can even be effective, even if they are unable to handle a visitor’s request. Bots can quickly gather information on what a client needs and the urgency of their request from a quick chat session. The bot can then format this information for a lawyer, helping to simplify the first meeting with the client.
With this information, the bot can also sort client queries and assign them to the best possible lawyer or staff member, depending on what a given visitor needs.
How the Legal Industry Can Use Chatbots
Chatbots have become a popular tool for organizations wanting to automate communications and data-collection. These bots can also be a powerful tool for the legal industry. Bots can automatically generate legal documents, direct visitors to relevant information and help them manage paperwork.
Organizations that adopt these bots may be able to streamline work processes and reduce much of the tedious labor required by legal work.