New research from, CenturyLink EMEA, an IT Services company specialising in digital transformation, has found that 20% of consumers would either definitely, or possibly, trust an automated, robotic service – such as a chatbot – to provide advice on a legal case relating to them. The survey, conducted by Censuswide, quizzed over 1,200 consumers, finding that those in London would be most comfortable taking automated legal advice (32%), shortly followed by individuals in the South East (22%) and Scotland (22%).

The study also revealed which kinds of legal advice they would take from a robot, and at which stage of the process automated advice would be most trusted. Almost a fifth (19%) of people questioned would trust a robot to manage and speed up the process of their case (for example, to schedule meetings and remind them of key dates). Speed was of particular importance to those between the ages of 16 and 34 (29%), while only 16% of 45+ year olds seemed to place importance on how fast a service is.

A further 15% of those questioned would trust an automated service to send and manage relevant documents for their case, such as passport scans or proof of address documents, and a 14% would trust automated services to advise them on which law firm would be best for their case. However, the research also revealed that only one in 20 (6%) would take actionable advice from a robot, thus removing the need for a human lawyer.

The data reveals a clear requirement for human interaction at some point during the legal process, but concerns around the source of robot-led advice is evident. For example, nearly half (45%) of consumers feel advice would lack human knowledge, over one in three (35%) believe advice given wouldn’t be unique or bespoke enough for them, and a further 31% worry about where the information they provide would be stored, or shared elsewhere.

Steve Harrison, regional sales director of legal services CenturyLink EMEA, commented:“When it comes to the use of robots in the legal sector, consumers have been loud and clear. While there is room for the use of AI and chatbot-led practices, human input should still lead the way. However, the legal sector still has much work to do to improve the overall customer experience, shaking up traditional paper-reliant working models and helping ease workloads.

“Alongside this, there is definitely a requirement for law firms to embrace technologies, such as robotic and automated services. With most consumers’ saying that they would trust a robotic service in the early stages of a case, this is where legal firms can stand to gain. By utilising such technologies in the initial stages, they can dedicate time to the more bespoke services – for which 35% of consumers’ value highly.

“By implementing, integrating and maintaining these kinds of technologies into their wider digital transformation strategies, law firms are enabled to enhance their customer services. By looking at how automation can speed up and improve certain elements of the legal process, they will not only appeal to a wider audience, but increase time that can be dedicated towards more bespoke and intricate cases.”

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