Chatbots get the thumbs down for complex legal advice

By: Anatoly Khorozov / June 22, 2017

Whilst most would refuse to take advice from a robot for complex cases, one in five British people would put their faith in an automated, robotic service – such as a chatbot – to provide simple legal advice.

Those in London would be most comfortable taking automated legal advice (32 percent), shortly followed by individuals in the South East and Scotland both at 22 per cent. However, the new survey made it clear that while there were certainly more general automated tasks people were happy to embrace, the vast majority valued the human element in their legal advice more overall and specifically when it comes to actionable advice.

Reveals types of legal advice consumers would accept from a robot

The survey, undertaken by digital transformation company CenturyLink EMEA, also revealed which kinds of legal advice consumer would take from an automated service and legal advice they would take from a robot, and at which stage of the process-automated advice would be most trusted: Some 19 percent would trust a robot to manage and speed up the process of their case, 29 percent of 16 to 34-year-olds felt speed was of particular importance while only 16 per cent of 45-year-olds and above valued the speed of a service.

Automation for general tasks

Conducted by Censuswide, the survey which quizzed more 1,200 consumers, found that a further 15 per cent of those questioned would trust an automated service to send and manage relevant documents for their case, such as passport scans or proof of address documents, and 14 percent would trust automated services to advise them on which law firm would be best for their case.

Actionable advice needs human element

However, the research also revealed that only one in 20 or six per cent would take actionable advice from a robot, thus removing the need for a human lawyer. The data reveals a clear requirement for human interaction at some point during the legal process and concerns around the source of robot-led advice is evident. For example, nearly half (45 percent) of consumers felt advice would lack human knowledge and more than one in three felt that the advice given wouldn’t be unique or bespoke enough for them with a further 31 percent worrying about where the information they provide would be stored, or shared elsewhere.

‘Consumers have been loud and clear’

Steve Harrison, Regional Sales Director of legal services CenturyLink EMEA, commented: ‘When it comes to the use of robots in the legal sector, consumers have been loud and clear. While there is room for the use of AI and chatbot-led practices, human input should still lead the way.’  However, he added: ‘Alongside this, there is definitely a requirement for law firms to embrace technologies, such as robotic and automated services. With most consumers’ saying that they would trust a robotic service in the early stages of a case, this is where legal firms can stand to gain. By utilising such technologies in the initial stages, they can dedicate time to the more bespoke services – for which 35 per cent of consumers’ value highly.’

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