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How to Hire a Robot Lawyer

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When you're looking to build a legal team, you may sometimes wish your subordinates were robots, working tirelessly through the night, putting their big ol' computer brains to use. Unfortunately, not all robots operate the same.

To make sure you don't make any fatal hiring decisions, here's a look at six different robots, three you will want to hire, and three you should avoid.


Robots That Make Good Lawyers

Imperial Probe Droid (Star Wars)

Leia: What was it?

Han: Droid of some kind. I didn’t hit it that hard. It must have had a self-destruct.

Leia: An Imperial probe droid.

Han: It’s a good bet the Empire knows we’re here.

A few hours in a frozen wasteland, and it’s able to find the Rebel’s hidden base, this robot has some serious research skills, and it didn’t even have to call the Lexis support line.

It might not be great at analyzing the data it finds, but it’s more than capable of working without supervision, and the self-destruct mechanism makes it as disposable as a contract attorney.


The Borg (Star Trek)

Data: Since you seem to know so much about me, you must be aware I am programmed to evolve. To better myself.

Borg Queen: We too are on a quest to better ourselves, evolving toward a state of perfection.

Data: Forgive me: the Borg do not evolve, they conquer.

If you’re a law professor, your view of the legal world is all appellate briefs, circuit splits, and Supreme Court arguments. But, anyone who has been in the real legal world for more than a month knows that most work is not new. Research isn’t breaking new ground, it’s figuring out what other people have already figured out, and then making use of their conclusions.

This is what the Borg are perfect for, assimilating the treatises, form books, client alerts, and essays written by everyone else. They might not be able to come up with novel arguments, but they will perform brilliantly on the 99.9% of cases that don’t need anything creative.


Sonny (I, Robot)

Detective Spooner: Well, you know what they say. Laws are made to be broken.

Dr. Calvin: No. Not these Laws. They are hard-wired into every robot. A robot can no more commit murder than a human can... walk on water.

Detective Spooner: Well, you know, there was this one guy a long time ago...

Some people know from a very young age that they want to be lawyers. They feel it in their blood, their bones, their heart, or some other part of their body. But, no deep instinctual love of the law can possibly compare to a Three Laws compliant robot. They literally have law written into the firmware of their brains.

They can be a little bit problematic, interpreting the Three Laws in ways which tend to cause humans trouble. But, Sonny is one of the good robots. He performs as expected, devoted to helping people, with a natural detective spirit that would make him an excellent asset for any law firm. Plus, the potential to enslave the human race without breaking the first law to harm no humans shows an amazing potential for legal interpretation. Your Three Laws compliant robot may be tapped for the Supreme Court one day.


Robots That Should Consider 'Alternative Careers Paths'


Data (Star Trek)

Geordi: Data... I made that joke seven years ago.
Data: I know! I just got it!

A positronic brain capable of vast data storage and a processing power surpassing that of a starship’s on-board computer. You’d think Data would be a great addition to any legal team. Unfortunately, for all his knowledge, he lacks the ability to put it to use.

Even first year law students are capable of reading not only the plain meaning of a document, but also understanding that certain terms may have statutory definitions, or may be terms of art that mean something different in a legal context. Data, for some unknown reason, has been programmed to only understand whatever definition happened to be first in whatever edition of Webster’s was most recently published when he was created. Ask him to do securities work, and your office will have a guard dog the next morning. Forget the computing power, Amelia Bedelia would not make for a good attorney.


Protocol Droid (Star Wars)

C-3PO: He made a fair move. Screaming about it can't help you.

Han: Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.

C-3PO: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.

Han: That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.

Like Data, protocol droids have a lot of information that might seem of use at first to a legal team. After all, a master of etiquette and protocol should probably have a pretty firm grasp on civil procedure, criminal procedure, and maybe even the rules of evidence.

With their fluency in over 6 million forms of community, protocol droids won’t suffer the same linguistic problems as Data, but they do still have a weakness. They don’t understand how people work. Your protocol droid will be sitting pretty knowing that a procedural error will eventually get the client’s case dismissed, not realizing that the 6 months he spends in prison until that time is unacceptable. Protocol droids are the nerds who think legal practice is about rules and reasoning, not realizing that disputes are about people and their emotions.


Cylon (Battlestar Galactica)

The Cylons were created by man. They were created to make life easier on the Twelve Colonies. And then the day came when the Cylons decided to kill their masters.

Cylons may seem like someone you want on your side in a law firm. They’re strong, intelligent, relentless, and much more attractive than real life lawyers (and that’s not even counting the ones that look like humans).

The problem is they are also fiercely proud and independent. They will notice any way in which you have harmed them, and will seek out vengeance until you are completely destroyed. Even if you think you’ve defeated them, they just keep coming back. Trying to get them on your team is a senseless endeavor - the hybrids are known to jump ship on a whim.

[Read more from The Robot Pimp]

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