DoNotPay, which describes itself as “the world’s first robot lawyer,” has been accused of practicing law without a license.
It’s facing a proposed class action lawsuit filed by Chicago-based law firm Edelson on March 3 and published Thursday on the website of the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of San Francisco.
The complaint argues: “Unfortunately for its customers, DoNotPay is not actually a robot, a lawyer, nor a law firm. DoNotPay does not have a law degree, is not barred in any jurisdiction, and is not supervised by any lawyer.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jonathan Faridian, who said he’d used DoNotPay to draft various legal documents including demand letters, a small claims court filing, and a job discrimination complaint.
Per the complaint, Faridian believed he’d purchased legal documents “from a lawyer that was competent to provide them,” but got “substandard” results.
DoNotPay claims to use artificial intelligence to help customers handle an array of legal services without needing to hire a lawyer. It was founded in 2015 as an app to help customers fight parking tickets, but has since expanded its services. DoNotPay’s website claims that it can help customers fight corporations, beat bureaucracy, find hidden money, and “sue anyone.”
DoNotPay told Insider: “DoNotPay respectfully denies the false allegations.” It added: “We will defend ourselves vigorously.”
Joshua Browder, the CEO of DoNotPay, said on Twitter that the claims had “no merit” and pledged to fight the lawsuit.
He said DoNotPay was “not going to be bullied by America’s richest class action lawyer” in a reference to Edelson founder Jay Edelson.
Browder said he’d been inspired to set up DoNotPay in 2015 to take on lawyers such as Edelson.
“Time and time again the only people that win are the lawyers. So I wanted to do something about it, building the DoNotPay robot lawyer to empower consumers to take on corporations on their own,” he said.
Jay Edelson told Insider: “We understood when we filed suit that Josh and DoNotPay would try to distract from their misconduct in any way possible. They attacked our client and now are attacking me.”
DoNotPay grabbed attention earlier this year after Browder said it planned to use its artificial intelligence chatbot to advise a defendant facing traffic court. This plan was postponed after Browder said said he’d received “threats from State Bar prosecutors” and feared a jail sentence.