Tom Martin

Tom Martin

Chatbots have a place in a law office, says legal chatbot creator Tom Martin, because they can handle busy work that eats up precious time in a lawyer’s day.

Martin is the founder of LawDroid, a company that creates legal chatbot apps that mimic human conversations when talking with potential clients.

For example, a reception bot on a firm’s website can answer questions about the lawyers who work there and the services they provide, and it can schedule clients for consultations, Martin explains. By wiping out such mundane tasks, it frees up time for meaningful human interactions between lawyer and client that no machine can master.

Martin, a Legal Rebels Trailblazer, launched LawDroid in 2017, first aiming to assist the general public with a tool that helped people craft business incorporation documents in California. A practicing lawyer of 20 years, Martin pivoted LawDroid to create tools for lawyers because he wanted to automate common tasks and give attorneys time for more important things.

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Martin has already embraced many of the tools he now offers in his innovative online law firm, Foresight Legal Group, which he founded in 2006. He continues running that California probate practice remotely from his new home in Vancouver, Canada, although Foresight’s staff attorneys handle much of the daily work now. From 2012 to 2016, Martin also co-founded and operated LawDeal.com, a site that allowed users to create and print legal documents for free.

“It’s just kind of been in my blood to do this kind of stuff,” Martin noted. “When chatbots really exploded about two-and-a-half to three years ago, I thought it was a real sea change, and that’s why I jumped on.”

Martin has put his passion for high-tech for the legal industry into wider practice by co-founding Vancouver Legal Hackers in 2016. The group of lawyers, software developers and academics meets regularly to discuss technological answers to common legal issues.

“We’re talking about the future of law,” Martin said. “A hot topic right now is blockchain, and what its applications might be to the legal industry, and AI continues to be an extraordinarily hot topic.”

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