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Blogs | November, 11 2021

Justice Tech and the Justice Gap

Justice tech innovators say access to justice is not just a means for fixing the justice system, but also a massive market opportunity for companies looking to solve issues that inhibit attorneys and other legal professionals from performing meaningful pro bono work.

According to innovators like Kristen Sonday, co-founder and CEO of Paladin, a startup whose mission is to help lawyers do more and better pro bono work, investments in justice technology (justice tech) can help legal teams in public and corporate organizations run more efficient pro bono programs. On Axiom’s Legally Disrupted webinar, Sonday discusses: 

  1. the role of justice techn in enabling greater quantity and quality pro bono work,
  2. how some of the best legal departments are encouraging and making the case to expand pro bono opportunities, and 
  3. the market opportunity for access to justice startups.

Justice tech refers to technology-driven solutions that help bridge the justice gap (i.e., gap between the level of civil legal assistance available and the level that is needed to meet the legal needs of low-income individuals and families around the country) by transforming the way legal help reaches low-income and underserved populations. 

Although legal aid attorneys play a vital role helping solve civil legal issues that can affect the health, housing and livelihood of vulnerable families across the nation, legal aid salaries have not kept pace with the salaries of lawyers in other public service organizations. As a result, financial pressures have created recruitment and retention challenges for traditional legal aid organizations. This has led to more calls for action asking legal professionals and corporate companies to step up and donate millions of pro-bono hours to meet the civil legal needs of low-income and underserved families.

In nearly every state, attorneys and legal professionals from bar associations, in-house and corporate pro bono programs, law schools, and government agencies render pro bono services. Justice tech innovators say the existing pro bono framework could be both streamlined and scaled to more efficiently connect legal aid providers with those who need their services most.