October 21, 2021

Hate Parking Tickets? There's a Market for That

One tech company is plotting out a future where robots might replace many lawyers. 

The company, with the enticing name DoNotPay, has developed software that uses artificial intelligence to provide a variety of legal services online. It helps with everything from fighting parking tickets to canceling gym memberships. Because of course, everyone wants to go to a high-priced attorney just to save money on unused gym memberships.

DoNotPay was started by eighteen-year-old Josh Bowder in London. When Bowder first got his driver’s license, he quickly found himself amassing parking tickets and fines. He decided they were too expensive for a student, so be researched ways to contest them.

And then developed an app, so he wouldn't have to copy and paste the same documents and letters repeatedly.

He called the app DoNotPay and friends picked up on it. Soon, a blogger wrote it up on Reddit and overnight DoNotPay had 50,000 users.

Bowder since has expanded beyond parking tickets, and also his user base. Even human attorneys see the software as a tool, and not just competition.

Of course, as with real lawyers, there’s a legal bill, but at $12 a month, it’s a lot cheaper.

And while some people have said the company’s legal advice is not always accurate, the American Bar Association gave DoNotPay an award in 2020 for increasing access to legal services.

In June the company raised $12 million in Series A funding with an $80 million valuation. The round was led by Coatue, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, and Felicis Ventures—all of which had invested in the company’s $4.6 million seed round. 

It's too early to tell what effect DoNotPay will have on the future of the legal profession, but know that somewhere in London right now there is a police officer eyeing an illegally parked car and muttering, "Why bother?"

By John Sailors
OffKey Blog, Oct. 21, 2021

Copyright 2021, by John Sailors.

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