University of Miami students build no-code legal automation bots with Josef

  • The university

    University of Miami

  • The course

    Law, Technology and Practice

  • The bot

    Hernia Mesh Intake Bot

University of Miami law students have built a number of interesting and powerful bots automating client intake and contracts using Josef’s no-code legal automation software.

For Robin Schard, law lecturer and Associate Director of the Law Library at the University of Miami (UoM), using Josef in the course she teaches is a no-brainer. “No-code software is really the future of legal technology.”

“It easily allows attorneys to use their expertise to streamline their own processes – rather than trying to adapt to something out of a box.”

Robin says building bots with Josef in the Law, Technology and Practice class allows students to “identify processes that they may have talked about in theory… and to break them down into their component parts.”

We use Josef’s software not only because it is easy to use and not overwhelming for non-coders, but also because Josef’s educational opportunities explain how to select appropriate workflows and how to understand the user’s side of the bot.”

We speak to Sabrina Ortega and Daria Pietropaolo, two of the students who were part of the group that built the Hernia Mesh Prospective Client Intake Bot.

Firstly, what is a hernia mesh?

Hernia mesh, also known as surgical mesh, is a synthetic, medical device implanted to support damaged tissue around hernias during the healing process. There are patients who suffer serious injuries if the mesh implant fails.

How did you land on a Hernia Mesh Prospective Client Intake Bot?

One of our group members, Alex, worked at a mass tort law firm.  He explained to us how many details have to be gathered to determine if a person has a claim in this type of litigation. It’s very detail-oriented, it’s very specific, and you have to hit certain elements to make a claim in this type of lawsuit. 

 We wanted to make it easier for hernia mesh claimants. An automated intake form simply makes the process more efficient. A bot like this being used by attorneys would allow them to figure out what the class action might look like, and it sifts out a lot of what could be construed as frivolous cases or a waste of time for either the client or the firm, and that’s where I see the real added value come in.

The Hernia Mesh Prospective Client Intake Bot in action!

The Hernia Mesh Prospective Client Intake Bot in action!

Tell us about the bot you built.

To frame it as part of a mass litigation, we gather information to determine what product (mesh) was used, who performed the surgery, and whether there may have been some sort of malpractice. 

We start with a simple greeting, explaining to the prospective client what it is that we’re doing and what the bot is for. 

To figure out if there is a claim for hernia mesh litigation, we go through a series of questions, like where they’re based for jurisdictional purposes. Different states have different laws regarding this type of litigation. 

We also ask for details about the surgery, like when it took place, which is important for statute of limitations purposes.

Some of the key questions we ask: What hospital were you located at? Were you an outpatient or inpatient? Who performed the surgery? What medication have you taken? And we gather information about the lead up to the surgery.

We also ask about pre-existing conditions, and whether the client had surgeries prior to this, because that could affect whether there is a valid claim, according to Food and Drug Administration rules.  

Then specific to the hernia mesh, we ask about the injury or harm caused, and the type of hernia mesh they had implanted.

What are the benefits you identified?

The bot saves so much time in regards to gathering information. Usually, there are initial client interviews held by a legal secretary or paralegal, who takes this information down and prepares it for the lawyer, who then has to look up the law. 

If this type of information is gathered and filtered in accordance with the law beforehand, you save a lot of time – particularly for the client. They don’t have to make a trip or go back and forth only to potentially end up disappointed. 

“No-code software is really the future of legal technology.”
– Robin Schard, law lecturer and Associate Director of the Law Library at the University of Miami

Our bot didn’t do this but other students automated and generated documents, which  is another time-saver, because doing that paperwork is repetitive and mundane.

Josef also does a great job with data security because that’s always a concern for lawyers and clients alike. If we took this bot to a real firm, we can safely say this data is protected. The fact that Josef has taken those precautions is really important for our own professional competency.

It’s super user-friendly. There’s nothing like Josef in terms of the chatbot, it’s like messaging and talking to someone. It’s a different experience to filling out a form which can be very overwhelming when you’re looking at everything at once. 

What was it like building with Josef? 

I really liked the flowchart view feature because you can see everything mapped out, and you can move the bubbles. I’m very visual, so to see everything is helpful to understanding the route that clients will take if they answered this question. 

The ability to have different types of responses is helpful too. With our bot, we have checklists, and prospective clients can check as many as they need that applies to them, or they can write an answer.

Also, working with the Josef team was great. They ran a training session and when we sent our bots to them, they provided individualised feedback about how we can improve the format of the bot.

Law students are ahead of the curve. You can be too.

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