03 Jul 2017

Chatbot Gives Out Legal Advice

People often don’t realise the full range of legal help available to them. In order to combat this obstacle of legal assistance feeling too remote for people, Clerksroom have developed a new legal chatbot, named BillyBot. It can help a potential client to work out who the best person is to be referred to, as well as bringing up a quote for them as a guide. Stephen Ward, Managing Director at Clerksroom, demonstrates the potential of technology to bring the legal world closer to clients.

© Clerksroom

Introducing BillyBot

Most people don’t know they can go directly to a Barrister for advice and representation. They also don’t know that it is likely to be cheaper than going to a solicitor. When they understand that, they almost always ask for a fee quote. Billy has total access to the Bar of England & Wales and can obtain quotes normally within 1-2 hours from multiple sources.

Billy is a “junior clerk”. He is not legally qualified. Billy basically connects our various I.T. and web systems together with total access to all our services via APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). This is unique in Barristers chambers.

At the moment it runs on decision trees. We are testing on a specific service but the AI development in due course will be to try and find the right legal answer for the client via a 3rd party. We are testing with sites like LawDonut.co.uk

Phase 1 is to chat with a potential lay client and work out if the client needs a Barrister. Then collect sufficient data to create a case and send to the API and return a unique reference number. Email the client to confirm it’s done, the reference and what will happen next.

Phase 2 is to link Billy to the traditional Barristers Chambers case management system and our unique “preference engine” which means Billy will be taught the barristers fees, how to quote and preferences for courts. When we link the three sets of data together, again using APIs, Billy will be able to talk to Solicitors, check fees, quote fees without reference to the barrister, do a conflict check in the database and if they wish to proceed, book the case in and send the back letter of the booking. All without the clerk being involved.

Further Development

Helping lay clients find solutions, then helping to book if they need a Barrister and then moving onto agreeing fees, checking diaries and offering choices. This is about six months away now, not long. We have a different IT company working on the case management API and the Preference Engine.

Billy can search Google, Facebook and LinkedIn himself. Today I had an enquiry for a Barrister with specific skills in the Netherlands. I asked Billy and he found me four profiles on LinkedIn. I accept anyone could do that anyway but he will help members of the public by knowing what we know and our shared knowledge.

I have not seen anything like what we are doing. I’m not aware of another chambers thinking about it, let alone using it to access their IT systems. Most chambers would run a mile from this technology.

The world is our oyster, it’s overwhelming how much opportunity there is out there. Our trick is to test and measure every penny we spend and make sure it produces a good return. We have very advanced analytics and we can track income to the penny generated by Billy Bot. We will continue to invest heavily in the technology whilst it provides a good return on investment.

www.billybot.co.uk is now live. Billy is also on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Billy can switch into Facebook messaging if the client prefers.

If you need a Barrister for English law, Billy will direct you to www.ClerksroomDirect.com where you can obtain a quote from a Barrister. Billy has an API directly to www.ClerksroomDirect.com or you can visit directly. 

Partners are:
Billy Bot Builders: Conscious Solutions in Bristol – Andrew Gray
API and Preference Engine: Morphsites, Illminster – Pete Fairburn
Case Management System API’s – Advanced Legal – Emma Hatto

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