DoNotPay founder Josh Browder announced this week that he is discontinuing the company’s legal products such as court representation, defamation demand letters and divorce agreements following recent threats from State Bar prosecutors that he will face time in jail.
Browder made headlines in January by saying on Twitter that he will pay any lawyer or person with an upcoming Supreme Court case $1,000,000 to wear AirPods that let DoNotPay’s GPT3 ‘robot lawyer’ argue the case, arguing that the “haters” will say that municipal traffic court hearings are too simple for GPT.
The Twitter post followed the announcement that DoNotPay would next month enter the courtroom for the first time, using its GPT3-backed technology to tell a defendant in a traffic case what to say through headphones.
The $1m offer was met with an immediate backlash, with many on Twitter pointing out that SCOTUS doesn’t let attorneys wear AirPods or bring an iPhone into court. Twitter added a reader-provided context note from the Supreme Court noting that electronic devices are banned while the Court is in session.
Following the backlash, Browder said on Twitter on 25 January: “Good morning! Bad news: after receiving threats from State Bar prosecutors, it seems likely they will put me in jail for 6 months if I follow through with bringing a robot lawyer into a physical courtroom. DoNotPay is postponing our court case and sticking to consumer rights: specifically, lowering medical bills, cancelling subscriptions, disputing credit reports, among other things.”
He added: “With AI, I think it’s very important for companies to stay focused. Unlike courtroom drama, these types of cases can be handled online, are simple and are underserved.”
Browder went on to say that he has realised that non-consumer righs legal products such as defamation demand letters, divorce agreements and other are a distraction, and will be removed from DoNotPay with immediate effect, commenting: “As much as I love to experiment, I have to stay out of jail if I want to help people fight Comcast!”
DoNotPay will be announcing some GPT consumer rights products in the next two weeks so watch this space.
Elsewhere, legal tech layoffs continue with the news that contract lifecycle management vendor SirionLabs is making 15% of its workforce redundant, according to a report from Indian tech and startup news publication Inc42.
The reported layoffs come within 15 days of the CLM vendor raising a $25m Series D.
In an email sent on 17 January to staff and seen by Inc42, founder and CEO Ajay Agrawal said that SirionLabs has to shift its business strategy towards profitability due to the current macroeconomic environment, which will result in downsizing.
SirionLabs has over 900 employees and the layoffs are said to affect around 130 employees. Inc42 also reports that SirionLabs offered a salary of two months’ severance to affected employees.
“We are positioning the company for long-term profitable growth based on a sustainable cost structure. We are realigning our resources to achieve that goal,” SirionLab’s CMO Hiro Notaney told Inc42 in a statement.
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1 thought on “Legal IT Latest: DoNotPay discontinues legal products after jail threats and SironLabs to layoff 15% of staff ”
There is a lot more to this story.
For one, his website is littered with misinformation about law that could hurt a lot of people, the section on immigration law in particular. Secondly, the AI such as it is has taken steps against its own client, including how it subpoenaed the cop in a traffic case, so it was already committing malpractice right out of the gate (and Josh was uneducated wnough about law to brag about that.)
Then when called out on the low quality of his legal documents and confronted with the suspicion that an AI was not involved in their creation (creating some documents resulted in a message saying it could take up to 8 hours for a document to be produced- it never actually was received), he banned a paralegal from his site, didn’t provide two documents he promised her, and retconned his terms of service multiple times to try and prevent people from either sharing info with her, or testing the service themselves.
When she continued to look into his other public underhanded actions, she brought up how he had made a promise to make a donation to charity on Twitter and never followed through. He soon after posted a receipt for a donation, claiming he had, but it was quickly proven he had photoshopped the dates, making it look like he had paid in December. The charity itself confirmed he had made the donation four minutes after the paralegal called him out.
So to sum up, Joshua Browder is a liar, and an unprincipled fraud, his AI is faulty at best and his website is packed with incorrect info that could irreparable harm people, and he is, at the most basic level of his being, a scumbag who is willing to commit forgery on a charity receipt, right out in public, rather than admit he hadn’t followed though on a promise.
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