BAL Law Firm Introduces Ellie, a First-of-its-Kind Immigration Chatbot

Richardson-based Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP has launched a natural language processing tool to help clients better understand complex immigration concepts.

Richardson-headquartered Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP (BAL), one of the top global corporate immigration law firms, has launched a new tool intended to demystify misconceptions around immigration.

“Ellie”—named for the historic Ellis Island—is a first for the industry. The chatbot is able to field questions surrounding legal definitions and immigration concepts, like visa categories, and give BAL clients straightforward answers.

Users could ask “What is a TN visa?” or “How does premium processing work?” and Ellie would use natural language processing to respond.

“Ellis Island symbolizes the challenges, dreams and complexity surrounding U.S. immigration, and Ellie represents another step in BAL’s mission as a firm to make a positive difference in people’s lives and to power human achievement,” Edward Rios, a BAL partner, said in a statement.

Ellie is able to understand everyday speech, according to BAL, so no high-level legal terminology or specific search-engine phrases are needed. The chatbot can be accessed in BAL’s H-1B Electronic Registration Resources Center, which clients use via their Cobalt account.

The law firm says the technology is yet another way it’s continuing to lead the industry.

“Our chatbot technology enables Ellie to learn, adapt, improve and grow more intelligent with every interaction,” Vince DiMascio, BAL’s CIO, said in a statement. “Ellie’s vocabulary and knowledge base will be expanding to encompass answers to more complex questions in the future.”

Founded in 1980, BAL offers specialized services and HR assistance with program and policy management. The firm says it has an “optimum combination” of legal services and IT tools that the team uses to manage national and global immigration cases, corporate immigration programs, and policies.

Clients are in a variety of industries: information technology, media, scientific, Internet, engineering, research, industrial, manufacturing, financial, and medical institutions. On its website, BAL says its approach is uniquely holistic, and it approaches every interaction with “an unwavering commitment to service.”

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