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New legal robot promises radical new approach

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-16 07:55

New legal robot promises radical new approach

Cartoon image of Faxiaotao is unveiled in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Are you finding it hard to find lawyer-or are you still chancing it and relying on advice from your friends? Maybe one answer is to try China's first intelligent legal robot whose name is Faxiaotao.

The robot, which uses artificial intelligence, attracted attention from home and abroad when it first appeared in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in October.

"It can help people analyze the best way to solve a dispute, but also assist them in selecting which attorneys are suitable to accept the case," said Jiang Youyi, who is in charge of the robot's technology at itslaw.com.

Analysis performed by Faxiaotao utilizes the company's database of more than 300,000 attorneys across the country, and in a search query it selects the best three options after processing information and data filtering, Jiang said.

"In this way, time and energy involved in looking for a lawyer can be saved-and efficiency in providing legal services can also be increased," he said.

Currently, however, the robot only serves counsels in companies "because people with a legal background are more familiar with key legal words and it's easier to master its search mode," he explained.

For example, if a company's corporate client believes its advertisements or advertising slogans have been illegally copied by a rival company and it wants to hire a specialist attorney, it can quickly access Faxiaotao.

"Within a few minutes, the robot verifies whether there is an actionable unfair competition dispute and tells the inquirer who the three best specialist lawyers are to handle the case," Jiang said.

"It also tells them which law firms the attorneys work for and how many similar cases they have handled in the past," he added.

The robot also provides information on how much compensation successful litigants have won in similar cases before and which courts heard the disputes.

"The data helps the counsel find the best matched attorney for their client, given the specific nature and situation surrounding the dispute," he said.

The robot owes its very existence to the database, which covers more than 28 million verdicts, pieces of legislation and rules. Jiang said more data was being added.

Itslaw.com, the robot's firm, said demand for the robot has been so big that it has allocated over half its employees to jobs developing the technology. Most have university majors in mathematics and physics and are capable of digging out and refining big data.

The database's originator, Jiang Yong, is certain its future is bright and assured.

Jiang, founder of Beijing Tian Tong Law Firm-parent of itslaw.com-initially built a platform for attorneys to communicate in early 2014. Filling an obvious need and with its fast development, more lawyers came to share their opinions and their case solutions.

In August that year, itslaw.com was established for people, especially lawyers, to look up legal information and cases they want to study, he said.

"I hope Faxiaotao can also remind users about legal risks, or even give them a heads up if they are doing something wrong," he said.

But both men said that however good the robot is now and subsequently becomes, it cannot replace lawyers, no matter how accurate the information it provides. "After all, it learns from us and its mode of thinking is provided by us," Jiang Youyi noted.

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