Of Robolawyers and Robojudges

30 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2022 Last revised: 26 Jul 2022

Date Written: January 31, 2022


Artificial intelligence (AI) may someday play various roles in litigation, particularly complex litigation. It may be able to provide strategic advice, advocate through legal briefs and in court, help judges assess class action settlements, and propose or impose compromises. It may even write judicial opinions and decide cases. For it to perform those litigation tasks, however, would require two breakthroughs: one involving a form of instrumental reasoning that we might loosely call common sense or more precisely call abduction and the other involving a form of reasoning that we will label purposive, that is, the formation of ends or objectives. This Article predicts that AI will likely make strides at abductive reasoning but not at purposive reasoning. If those predictions prove accurate, it contends, AI will be able to perform sophisticated tasks usually reserved for lawyers, but it should not be trusted to perform similar tasks reserved for judges. In short, we might welcome a role for robolawyers but resist the rise of robojudges.

Keywords: AI, artificial intelligence, jurisprudence, robots, legal positivism, natural law

Suggested Citation

Davis, Josh Paul, Of Robolawyers and Robojudges (January 31, 2022). Hastings Law Journal, 2022, Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4021610

Josh Paul Davis (Contact Author)

UC Law, San Francisco ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

HOME PAGE: http://uclawsf.edu

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