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School automating debt collection defense

http://www.abajournal.com/news/arti cle/byu_law_takes_on_debt thirdtierlaw01/31/18
Like it said, 98% of these defendants never hire a lawyer an onehell01/31/18
That's what I always wonder about these automated programs. thirdtierlaw01/31/18
thirdtierlaw (Jan 31, 2018 - 6:39 am)

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/byu_law_takes_on_debt_collection_epidemic_with_new_online_tool/?utm_source=maestro&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly_email

BYU law school created a program that automatically creates a responsive filing to a debt collector's claim. What says you board debt collectors? Is it actually going to have an impact on your practice or will you not even notice it at all?

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onehell (Jan 31, 2018 - 10:20 am)

Like it said, 98% of these defendants never hire a lawyer anyway, so it doesn’t meaningfully compete with lawyers.

I’m more interested in whether it actually helps though. Filing a response triggers discovery which without advice, they won’t know how to respond to. Also, does it raise counterclaims or just file an answer?

If you don’t have a defense, making the debt collector attorney spend more time only increases the size of the eventual judgment due to fee shifting or causes a person to waste time fighting individual debts when they can be better off just wiping them all out in bankruptcy.

My point is that software which just helps you file an answer and provides no further assistance can leave you worse off than if you’d just defaulted. And a lot of jurisdictions are hostile to “boilerplate” defenses, such as the assertion that the collector can’t prove ownership of the debt (they usually can, because they can use their own business records, you don’t have to “produce the note” or show every assignment in the chain of title, contrary to popular belief),

Plus, if the software suggests particular defenses then it’s a UPL issue. But if it does not and just has you fill in a response, well people will fill in a sob story, and “I don’t have the money” is definitely not a defense.

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thirdtierlaw (Jan 31, 2018 - 3:02 pm)

That's what I always wonder about these automated programs. AI is nowhere near the level where you can have an open text box, the program reviews what you write and then comes back with a prompt saying, "This is not a defense." There is also an issue with there being a "drop downbox" of possible defenses to choose from. I can see someone just clicking on all of them, even if they don't fit, thereby opening them up to sanctions by the court.

I just do not see any debt collection firms being scared off by a boilerplate response from the program.

I had a buddy whose firm made him do this pro-bono landlord/tenant dispute program so that he could "get actual courtroom time." After the first month he did it, he was ready to just pull out his hair because people were showing up, wanting to fight the eviction, without a leg to stand on. But they figured, free attorney, possibly extend the time they can stay in the apartment while the matter was pending, and worst case they end up exactly where I am now, so why not give it a try. I can see this app leading exactly to this.

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