Legal Cheek

London student hoping to ‘take down’ lawyers with AI chatbots handed £840,000 by Silicon Valley investors

Computer whizz will use cash to tackle more complicated areas of law

A London-born computer science student who hopes to “take down” lawyers with artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots has moved one step closer to realising his dream after being handed $1.1 million (£840,000) in support.

Joshua Browder, a student at Stanford University, California, is the brains behind an AI system called DoNotPay. Launched in 2016, the site provides 24-hour free legal advice to the public in areas including parking fines, delayed flights and payment protection insurance (PPI).

Now, having been given £840,000 from a group of wealthy Silicon Valley investors, the 21-year-old has his eyes fixed on more complex areas of law. Browder told Legal Futures:

“Divorce, immigration, small claims, property tax and more corporate takedowns are on their way, and perhaps the last app that everyone downloads is the one that solves all of their problems for free.”

The tech-savvy student — who recently moved into the house that Mark Zuckerberg used to rent — claims that he isn’t in it for the money. He said:

“I am not doing this to make any money whatsoever. As part of the funding (and all future financings), I will take a $1 salary until the law is free for everyone in America [and the United Kingdom (UK)].”

The financial war chest is thanks, in part, to venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The California-based outfit has backed businesses such as telecommunications giant Skype and media titan BuzzFeed.

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Other Browder-backers include Greylock Partners, a venture capital firm at which he is an ‘entrepreneur in residence’, and US law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

However, despite the hefty cash injection, Browder concedes that he is a long way from his goal of giving “everyone the same legal power as the richest in society”.

In September, Browder revealed his AI system would help UK citizens affected by the highly-publicised data breach of US credit report giant Equifax. Reports at the time suggested that around 44 million British consumers’ details may have been compromised.