Love is in the air as robot lawyer LISA partners with junior clerk Billy Bot

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30 August 2017

‘Robot lawyer’ LISA, an artificial intelligence (AI) app, has teamed up with Billy Bot, a barrister’s clerk chatbot, in what has been heralded as the first ‘robot relationship’ in the legal services world.

As we have previously reported, LISA, created by legal futurist Chrissie Lightfoot and corporate lawyer Adam Duthie, specialises in non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

Billy Bot, unveiled this spring by national chambers Clerksroom, is designed to carry out the tasks of a junior barrister’s clerk.

Ms Lightfoot told Legal Futures that LISA, which stands for ‘legal intelligence support assistant’, had been used by over 1,000 consumers and businesses of all sizes in the first six months since its launch in November 2016.

She said the AI platform, powered by Neota Logic’s AI technology, was unique in providing impartial legal advice to opposing parties while they negotiated NDAs.

However, she said the feedback from clients indicated that some users wanted human lawyers to help them through the process, and although one party could be referred to Mr Duthie’s firm, Duthie & Co, the other side might also need help.

“People should always begin by using technology, which can often provide 95% of what they need,” Ms Lightfoot said. “For those that want a lawyer, this is where Billy Bot comes in, which can refer them to a direct access barrister.

“We want to help the public realise that they can go directly to barristers.”

Ms Lightfoot said that, following suggestions from clients, LISA would be adding a “suite of property tools” to its NDA offering later this year.

Ms Lightfoot added: “While law can be complicated, giving people access to the most basic of legal services and insight need not be, if the first step is to use tech tools and virtual assistants wherever possible.”

LISA and Billy Bot will feature on each other’s websites, and joint marketing campaigns are planned.

Named after the clerk in the TV series Silk, Billy Bot aims to point users to free online legal resources, help them decide whether they need legal help and if necessary find them a lawyer, either a solicitor or direct access barrister, making appointments and dealing with all the tasks a human clerk would.

Launched in April, the bot is currently working via decision trees, but it is intended to move into the world of AI, learning from questions and triaging legal needs. Questions that Billy cannot answer are referred to human clerks.

Stephen Ward, chief executive and co-founder of Clerksroom, said: “We’ve been hearing rumours about Billy Bot and robot LISA for quite some time now, but we’re delighted that they’ve finally decided to make it official.

“People say office romances don’t last, however we’re looking forward to potentially the first bot wedding in a few years’ time.”

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