On this episode of LawNext: Joshua Browder, founder of DoNotPay. Browder achieved international recognition when, at just 17 years old in 2015, he founded DoNotPay, touted as the world’s first robot lawyer, to help people appeal parking tickets. The company claims the app has saved motorists in the U.S. and UK many millions of dollars. DoNotPay went on to release a series of apps designed to help consumers – and, more recently, small businesses – solve common legal problems, all without the need for a lawyer, and, along the way, it has raised some $28 million in venture funding.
In recent weeks, however, Browder has been the subject of harsh criticism, both on social media and in the news media. The criticism came on two principal fronts. One was what many viewed as a pair of ill-conceived publicity stunts – first when Browder offered to pay a lawyer $1 million to argue a case in the Supreme Court guided via AirPods by DoNotPay’s artificial intelligence, and the other when Browder said he would send a pro se litigant into traffic court guided by DoNotPay’s AI whispering in his ear. He canceled that plan after claiming that state bar officials threatened him with prosecution.
Then came a scathing series of tweets by Kathryn Tewson, a paralegal in Washington state who tried out several of DoNotPay’s self-help legal tools, only to conclude that they were effectively smoke and mirrors, in some cases getting the law wrong, in others failing even to deliver the promised product. Following all that, Browder announced that he was taking down the legal tools from DoNotPay and would henceforth focus only on consumer rights.
What does Browder say about all this? In this exclusive LawNext interview, he describes it all as “a bit of a nothingburger.”
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