Chatbots as Associates?

I’ve been on a hiatus from blogging.  To those of you who missed having quizzes today and last Friday, I apologize. The #fiveforfriday quiz will return next week.

Also next week, I intend to explore the distinction between conduct that should be considered “unethical” and conduct that “violates the rules as they are written.”  I’ll do so through the lens of New Jersey’s recent advisory opinion on Avvo’s Legal Services Program.  For an excellent primer on the topic, check out this post from Above The Law.

Now, on to chatbots.


A few months ago, I asked whether robots are non-lawyer assistants.  Referring to the idea that lawyers have a duty to ensure that their nonlawyer assistants comply with rules, I wrote:

  • “As I’ve often said, Rule 1.1’s duty of competence includes tech competence.  Read together, do Rules 1.1 and 5.3 require lawyers who use robots to have some sort of understanding of the coder’s qualifications?  Perhaps we will eventually treat the purchase of robots as we do the selection of a cloud vendor and hold that ‘a lawyer must take reasonable precautions in choosing a robot that will perform mundane legal tasks.'”

It probably seemed far-fetched.

It’s not.

Today, Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites blog posted DoNotPay Launches Service to Let Anyone Create a Legal Bot.  Essentially, the service allows a lawyer to create a robot assistant.

As I’ve often said, do not fear technology.  Advances in technology are not inherently unethical.  Think of the ways you use technology today that were not imaginable, or available, 20 years ago.

For example, compare (1) a secure email with a password-protected attachment & read-receipt, to, (2) a stamped letter, dropped off at 5:27 PM on a Friday, with a return-receipt requested.

Whether Monty Hall or Wayne Brady, I’ll take Door Number 1.

Would you rather that the rules be interpreted so as to require use of the U.S Mail?

Technological advances create opportunities for lawyers & firms to operate more efficiently and to provide wider access to cheaper legal services.


Monday Morning Answers: Declaration(s) of Independence Edition

So, I trekked to Lake Placid yesterday.  There’s a great running loop around Mirror Lake.  If you’re in LP, I recommend the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery.  It’s a few steps off the main drag, so it’s a tad less crowded.  Great views of Mirror Lake and, in other direction, both Olympic rinks (1932 & 1980).

Happy 4th!

Friday’s questions are HERE. Spoiler alert – the answers follow today’s Honor Roll.




Question 1

Name the lawyer who is the only U.S. President to have been born on July 4.

I understand that you have 45 choices.  Most readers of this blog, however, should be able to narrow it down to a 50/50.

Vermont’s Own Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge.

Question 2

Did I say “ethics free?”  Oops.  It was mere puffery.

Rule 8.4(d) prohibits lawyers from engaging in “conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

In July 1776, a relatively well-known document was approved.  It included a section that is often referred to as “the indictment.”  In the document, who was indicted for, among other things, “obstruct[ing] the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers?”

The Declaration of Independence Indicted King George III

Question 3

In January 1777, a group of people declared independence from the various jurisdictions laying claim to their land, forever declaring “a free and independent jurisdiction . . . hereafter to be called, known and distinguished by the name of New-Connecticut.”

What’s it called now?


Question 4

The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was on July 8, 1776.  The reading took place at what, at the time, was the Pennsylvania State House.

What was used to summon the public to the reading?

Bells, including the Liberty Bell

Question 5

Seinfeld is never far from this blog.  As Independence Day approaches, let us never forget that dark moment in time when Independent George was under threat.

In the dialogue below, what’s the word that fills in the blanks? Hint: the same word goes in each blank.

The answer is RELATIONSHIP George, and the scene is HERE.

  • George:  “You have no idea of the magnitude of this thing.  If she is allowed to infiltrate this world then George Costanza as you know him ceases to exist  You see, right now I have RELATIONSHIP George.  But there is also Independent George.  That’s the George you know, the George you grew up with…..Movie George, Coffee Shop George, Liar George, Bawdy George.”
  • Jerry: “I love that George.”
  • George: “Me too! And he’s dying.  If RELATIONSHIP George walks thru this door, he will kill Independent George.  A George divided against itself cannot stand!”