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"I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Lawyer Program  
  Software that could listen to legal argument.  

If you get in trouble, you'd better know the URL of a good lawyer program.

Spivey held up one hand. "First I must tell you, Mr. Eng, that what we're about to discuss is highly classified. Top secret."

Logan winced. "I want my lawyer program."

The officer smiled placatingly. "I assure you it's all legal..."

From Earth, by David Brin.
Published by Bantam in 1990
Additional resources -

In the book, lawyer programs are also described as being good for investigating how to work with (and around) existing laws:

But even though no geeps were watching now, dozens must have recorded both parties converging on this spot... chronicle's they'd happily zap-fax to police investigating a brawl after the fact.

Not that fighting was strictly illegal. Some gangs with good lawyer programs had found loopholes and tricks. Ra Boys, in particular, were brutal with sarcasm... pushing a guy so hard he'd lose his temper, and accept a nighttime battle rendezvous or some suicidal dare...

It's not exactly the same, but a lawyer program has to talk to someone - or something. See the robot judge from Harry Harrison's 1959 story Robot Justice. That robot must be running some kind of legal software. Also, see the law clerk robot from Pohl's The Midas Plague.

As far as I know, the first "knowledge-based systems" for the law appeared in the early 1980's. The prize for earliest speculation on this topic goes to lawyers themselves, and dates from a 1949 paper by Lee Loevinger titled Jurimetrics. The Next Step Forward.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Earth
  More Ideas and Technology by David Brin
  Tech news articles related to Earth
  Tech news articles related to works by David Brin

Lawyer Program-related news articles:
  - AI Software 'Robot' Lawyers Next Year
  - 'Expert System' Found Practicing Law Without License
  - FrontlineSMS Legal Justice Via Cell Phone
  - Legal 'e-Discovery' Software Replaces Lawyers
  - Law Firms To Undergo 'Structural Collapse' Due Artificially Intelligent Systems
  - DoNotPay Lawyer Program Contests Parking Tickets
  - 'Do Not Pay' Chatbots To Replace Law Firm Associates?

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Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors

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