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May 26, 2020 Asked and Answered

Could you be replaced by a robot lawyer?

By Stephanie Francis Ward

Do you really need a human for the so-called human touch in lawyering, particularly when a big part of the job is convincing the client to be reasonable? Maybe not, according to some people who created apps that they claim help people accomplish tasks traditionally carried out by lawyers.

This includes tasks such as working out custody disputes with an ex or finding something that two people at odds in a business deal can agree on to work past a dispute.

In this new episode of the ABA Journal’s Asked and Answered podcast, Senior Writer Stephanie Francis Ward talks with legal technologists about how their apps are working to do things such as detect and block sarcasm in texts between parents at odds with each other and quickly find middle ground between people battling over small amounts of money.

Weighing in on the topic are Colin Rule, the vice president of online dispute resolution for Tyler Technologies, who previously handled online dispute resolution for eBay and PayPal; Warren Agin, a managing director of Elevate Services, who is on the governing council of the ABA’s Center for Innovation; Sherrill Ellsworth, a retired family law court judge from Riverside, California, who co-founded coParenter, an app that helps with parenting plans; and Joshua Browder, an ABA Journal Legal Rebel and the founder of DoNotPay, an app that has advertising language promising to “sue anyone at the press of a button.”

In This Podcast:

Colin Rule
Colin Rule is vice president for online dispute resolution at Tyler Technologies. Tyler Technologies acquired Modria.com, an ODR provider that Colin co-founded, in 2017. From 2003 to 2011, Rule was director of online dispute resolution for eBay and PayPal.

Warren Agin
Warren Agin is a managing director of Elevate Services and is on the governing council of the ABA’s Center for Innovation.

Sherrill Ellsworth
Sherrill Ellsworth is a retired family law court judge from Riverside, California, who co-founded coParenter, an app that helps with parenting plans.

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