The old saying to law students: “look to your left, look to your right, because one of you won’t be here by the end of the year” is untrue. So law students need not fret. But law firms, they should.

Today most law firms look to the firm down the street for their largest competition. But in a few years time, the real threat won’t be that law firm down the street. It will be some technology company that will encroach on an aspect of their work.

Currently, this looming threat is sitting in his parents’ basement or sitting in his university dorm room, working on the next big thing. The best example of this next top threat is DoNotPay. DoNotPay is a free artificial intelligence lawyer, designed by 19-year-old second year Standford University student Joshua Browder. DoNotPay helps users contest parking tickets in an easy to use chat-like interface. So far, the program has successfully contested 160,000 parking tickets across London and New York for free.

“The program first works out whether an appeal is possible through a series of simple questions, such as were there clearly visible parking signs, and then guides users through the appeals process. The results speak for themselves. In the 21 months since the free service was launched in London and now New York, Browder says DoNotPay has taken on 250,000 cases and won 160,000, giving it a success rate of 64% appealing over $4m of parking tickets.” (The Guardian)

The process for appealing fines is relatively formulaic and therefore perfectly suitable for applying artificial intelligence. Meaning that customers can receive accurate advice without paying high fees to lawyers.

Challenging parking tickets is just the beginning. And I can’t wait to see what’s in store.