LegalWeek Crystal Ball Question:
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Music: Jerry David DeCicca
Marlene Gebauer 0:15
Welcome to The Geek in Review, the podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer,
Greg Lambert 0:21
And I’m Greg Lambert. Marlene this week we talked with Maya Markovich, and Yousef Kassim about their amazing work at the Justice Technology Association or JTA.
Marlene Gebauer 0:33
JTA seeks to grow, shape, and organize what they call the emerging justice tech market. JTA’s mission is to demonstrate how technology can provide affordable accessible solutions to people facing everyday legal issues. This also includes ways to leverage the justice tech to help with a large number of cases that people take to courts without the assistance of a lawyer.
Greg Lambert 0:53
So we’re super excited to have Maya and Yousef on, and we have some other some JTA lined up for future episodes as well. And they’re just doing some outstanding things with that association.
Marlene Gebauer 1:05
But first up, we have the very last of our recordings from this year’s legal week and our crystal ball question. We’ve saved one of our favorites for last and talked with Steve Embry from the tech law Crossroads blog and his vision of what the law firm workplace looks like in the next few years.
Stephen Embry 1:23
Well, I’m Steve Embry, and I write the blog Techlaw Crossroads that you guys are gonna know you’re weird blog. And I’m also Chair elect of the ABA law practice division this year. And we’ve just finished doing techshow in Chicago and then starting the process to get ready for next year show.
Greg Lambert 1:45
It never ends.
Stephen Embry 1:47
Right, you know, and so now I’m doing show one this week and show two this one last week show two this week, and then I’ll go home and collapse for a while
Greg Lambert 1:56
Start working on show three.
Stephen Embry 1:57
Because I’m out of shape go into shows.
Greg Lambert 2:00
It does take a lot out of you.
Stephen Embry 2:01
Greg Lambert 2:03
So what do you see on the horizon for us?
Stephen Embry 2:05
Well, good question. I just did an article, I guess, last week, or the week before about the three day workweek, there was a nice article in The Atlantic magazine.
Stephen Embry 2:17
I’m liking where this is going.
Stephen Embry 2:18
But and it wasn’t, of course, the Atlantic article was not about law, but it was about generally. And it’s the phenomena seems to be that people really want to work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in an office, and then the rest of the time at home. And that’s going to become sort of a norm. And the other thing that a lot of employers pointed out are recognizing is that, you know, the law office of the future, or the office of the future needs to be an experience or a destination. In other words, you know, you, you have to give people a reason to want to come to the office, whether it’s a gym, or a nice place to eat, or a lot of the things like
Marlene Gebauer 2:59
Stephen Embry 3:01
Spa, yeah. One of the things that technology companies like Google and Apple recognize years and years ago.
Greg Lambert 3:07
Is that coming from the companies and the law firms, or is that coming from the real estate?
Stephen Embry 3:13
Well, it’s good question. Certainly. Well, the, you know, it was always thought that the law firms would reduce real estate, right? Because they don’t need it. Now. It’s starting to stay current sort of an equilibrium. In other words, they don’t need as many offices, but they have to have a space for their spa, or gym. And so they’re going to end up, you know, renting the same amount of space, which, you know, for a lot of businesses and law firms is not a bad thing. Because they’ve got they’re tied into long term leases. So, you know, if you’re tied in, let’s say you did, you know, two years ago, you did a five year long term lease or a 10 year long term lease. So now you got two years, nobody comes to the office, now, what do you can’t get out of it, you know, and, you know, the landlord is not going to let you out because they need to build a space. So, you know, it’s a way, it’s kind of a little bit of a win win. You can use the office for other things.
Marlene Gebauer 4:04
In a way that makes sense for you.
Stephen Embry 4:05
Yeah, yeah. Okay. But I think, you know, as I wrote in the article, you know, it’s, are we going to see that for law firms? I mean, like, law firms are not necessarily big in to, you know, cool things to be in the office. But they I don’t think they’ve ever faced the competition for talent they’re facing. It’s extreme. And, you know, this morning at the state of the legal market, so discussion about the great, huge percentage of lateral movement in the past couple of years. And it was, I mean, it was strikingly high. You’re not sort of sensed it was high, but now it’s strikingly high. So there’s a lot of competition for talent and they’re going to it by necessity or going to have to offer something. But as I as I talked about it in the post that I did, you know, the big the big deal for law firms, and I think we may have talked about this on one of your shows, has always been, well, we have to have our associates come in, so we can train them. And they have to experience our culture. And so, but you know, what a lot of times the training was, well, you know, maybe you’ll get assigned to partner A, who’s really great mentor and does really well. Or you might get assigned to Partner B, who’s just a real jerk. And you know, it’s not going to give you the time of day. In my career as an associate, I got a little of both. So I actually, so that’s the training program and a lot of places. And then the culture, there’s a great quote from somebody from a UK firm. Culture, you mean, you mean, like working long hours, you know, being subjected to a bureaucracy being screamed at, you know, all these days? I guess, time we got rid of that firm culture is better anyway. So I think that’s, you know, kind of what I’ve been sort of interested in watching is this kind of development and where and how we work.
Marlene Gebauer 6:00
And how we work.
Stephen Embry 6:01
Yeah. And the other thing, I mean, it has huge repercussions because for cities, you know, for downtown businesses, it’s, you know, tech show last week, I kind of wandered around Chicago, and where the streets were pretty deserted. Even Michigan Avenue. Now, it seems to be more people out and about here, but a lot of businesses have folded up and small businesses, grocery stores, drugstores, shoe repair shops, restaurants, so not having lots of workers downtown is.
Greg Lambert 6:33
Marlene Gebauer 6:36
Tailors. Yeah, I mean, I just wonder, too, you know, some of these plans we were hearing about, like, for smart cities and things if you’re not seeing all people downtown. I mean, how what kind of impact is that have?
Stephen Embry 6:48
Yeah. You know, and in big cities like New York, you got a lot of people that still live here. Yeah. But it will level, for example, where I live. We don’t have a lot of people within downtown and
Marlene Gebauer 7:00
big cities. It’s like you come in for work, and then you leave.
Stephen Embry 7:02
Yeah. So I don’t know. It’s gonna be different world and we come out of this. See, it could all go back to normal.
Greg Lambert 7:11
I know some people that want it to go back. Alright, well, thanks, Steve.
Stephen Embry 7:17
It’s always good to see you.
Marlene Gebauer 7:22
We are very excited to bring back Maya Markovich to the show this week. And for her to be joined by Yousef Kassim to talk about their work at the Justice Technology Association. They teach us what Justice tech is all about, and how JTA is leveraging it to help improve access to justice.
Greg Lambert 7:40
We’d like to welcome Yousef Kassim, CEO of easy expunctions.com. And welcome back. Maya Markovich is the executive director at Justice Technology Association. Welcome you both to The Geek in Review.
Maya Markovich 7:55
Thank you so much. It’s really great to be here.
Yousef Kassim 7:58
Yeah. Thank you, Greg. We’re really excited to be here today.
Marlene Gebauer 8:01
So Maya, we’ve had you on the show before, but you’ve left NextLaw Labs with Dentons last year, and you’ve been really busy with advising some new entrants into legal tech community. How are you enjoying that role?
Maya Markovich 8:12
Yes, I’ve been I have been very much enjoying going where the action is in legal industry innovation. So I’m working with ALSPs investors, law firms and legal departments on supercharging their transformation efforts. And I’m also advising a few legal tech and justice tech companies, mainly on strategy and growth. I mean, I love I really love working with founders. So that’s been awesome. I’m also justice tech Executive in Residence at Village capital, where we’re helping to build and mobilize informed capital into the nascent justice tech vertical. And there’s obviously quite a bit of overlap there with JTA, our new nonprofit trade association.
Greg Lambert 8:53
What’s the focus of the Capital Group?
Maya Markovich 8:56
Village capital has been working with AmFam for a few years on defining, measuring and supercharging informed investment into the Justice tech space.
Greg Lambert 9:09
Okay. All right. Well, Yousef, before we began, I have a story to say about how small this world is. So last week, I was at a partner retreat for my firm. And one of the newest partners from San Antonio came up to me and he was we were just talking about his innovation that he had created. And that led to a broader discussion on innovation. And he got really excited. He was like, oh, man, I need to introduce you to this guy in San Antonio named Yousef and doing some really cool stuff. And I was like, wait, wait, and I pulled out my phone and my calendar I was like this Yousef? So yeah, and so it turns out, I guess you both know each other. And it actually turns out that Art is an advisor for JTA as well. So it’s a small world.
Yousef Kassim 9:59
very very, very small world. And Art is one of my favorite people. And so, yeah, really, you know, funny how y’all connected over the weekend? And you know, he brought my name up. But yeah,
Greg Lambert 10:11
yeah, it’s interesting, because Art and I are actually working on he’s going to launch his own podcast, and then I’ve been working with him on that. So, but I know it’s a small world. But let’s, let’s talk more about you on this and easy expunctions, you know, some of these other cool innovations that you’re doing? Can you talk to us about what you’re working on?
Yousef Kassim 10:31
Sure. Yeah, I’m the CEO of Easy Expunctions company I founded with my brother, we help individuals get a clear path to a clear record. And so we have an outcomes based approach that supports pro se litigants to you know, achieve expunctions when they’re eligible. So you know, somebody will come to our website, we provide you with a free nationwide background check for creating an account, then for a small fee, you can see if you’re eligible, you know, essentially go through it before and after, to determine if there’s something that we can do to help you. And if there is we provide fixed fee pricing to help individuals achieve that 100% money back guarantee. So including your filing fees to the court, if those are something that you need to pay. And so really an unprecedented level of consumer protections for folks who are seeking legal services. And so started here in Texas, and did a financing last year to you know, start scaling this into additional markets.
Greg Lambert 11:34
Yeah, I have a feeling that most of the listeners will will know what you’re talking about. But would you mind just explaining kind of what an expunction is, and what the effect of having your record expunged does?
Yousef Kassim 11:47
Sure. So expunctions are a legal remedy. They’re state by state. So every state provides some form of relief for individuals who’ve been arrested before, and maybe resulted in non conviction or, you know, it was a one and only conviction situation. We can help you, you know, get a judge signed order that provides you with two main rights. One is the right to deny that that arrest ever occurred. So if you’re applying for a job, or housing or something like that, you can now say that you weren’t arrested. Whereas in the past, you know, maybe that was something you’d have to disclose. And then two, you know, the right to prohibit others from possessing or distributing that information. And so, essentially, the opportunity to monopolize negative data about yourself. And really, the benefit is, you know, 90% of major employers today are running background checks, there’s over 100 million background checks run in the United States every year. More and more jurisdictions are digitizing these records, making them available online. And so this is something that, you know, from an employment standpoint, there’s data to show that folks who go through this process are not only more hireable, but ended up making more money pretty quickly, after going through a process like this.
Greg Lambert 13:05
You’re doing great work, because I know, your customers probably really appreciate it when they’re able to kind of take that off their back.
Marlene Gebauer 13:13
I mean, I was gonna say, I mean, I love the model, and that you make it so accessible for people upfront that basically okay, you know, you get the information first to see, you know, is there an opportunity? I mean, you don’t have to pay for that, first, that you can basically make an informed decision with the information that you’re providing them at? No, at no charge. So that’s fantastic.
Yousef Kassim 13:35
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that’s probably one of the things that we’re most proud of is, if we can’t help you, we let you know that up front, and, you know, hopefully, you know, save you from spending money somewhere else that maybe you wouldn’t have that same level of consumer protection. So
Marlene Gebauer 13:50
Yeah, and it’s great, because I think there’s a lot of people that are a little, you know, they’re they’re a little skeptical about working in the legal system, and you know, what the costs will be, and so that this is just a very clean and clear model for them. We are very excited to have you both on to talk about the work you’re doing with the justice Technology Association, or JTA. Would you mind giving us an overview of exactly what the mission is for JTA?
Maya Markovich 14:15
Sure. Well, I mean, it may be helpful to start with a little definition for context. So justice tech, companies like Easy Expunctions that build tech solutions that are designed to improve or open access to legal rights, improve outcomes, and increase equity within a system that it’s stacked against users that are often going it alone in the justice system. So we founded JTA earlier this year, as a nonprofit trade group to support these changemakers that harness technology to help people navigate legal matters, foster hope, and self empowerment, and contribute to this to a more fair legal system. So at JTA our mission is to democratize the consumer legal experience through the use of technology for the public good. We know we need to support, you know, both these entrepreneurs and harness this collective voice for regulatory reform, expand the debate beyond lawyers and bars about technologies place in the solution, the suite of solutions to address the Access to Justice crisis, and really bring the public’s interest to the forefront of the debate. So JTA is aimed at supporting primarily direct to consumer justice tech founders, amplifying awareness of the sector, building the ecosystem and really smoothing the path for them to grow and enable positive impact at scale.
Marlene Gebauer 15:32
And Yousef, how’s this impacted Easy Expansions?
Yousef Kassim 15:35
Yeah, well, I think, you know, companies like Easy Expunctions would benefit from an organization like the JTA. There are, you know, obviously, barriers in place historically, for companies like ours, pushback from maybe attorneys, or unauthorized practice of law committees. And, you know, we really think that there’s space here for organizations to provide outcome based solutions that may be different models that didn’t exist before. And so having an organization like JTA, acting, essentially, as a counterbalance to some of these forces, I think, benefits all of us. And so especially organizations and entrepreneurs that are interested in, you know, providing solutions in this space, forever to achieve even relative justice, I really think it’s going to take all hands on deck, you know, attorneys, legal aid clinics, and then, you know, innovative, you know, models that can achieve outcome based products for consumers. And so, yeah, we’re, we’re excited about being a part of it. But we think long term, this is something that could benefit a lot of people besides just the organizations trying to be members.
Greg Lambert 16:46
And I think it’s, you know, anyone that’s spent five minutes in the legal industry understands there are huge vacuums. And especially, you know, there wouldn’t be an access to justice movement if there wasn’t big vacuums of, of needs in the industry. And I think one of the things that we’ve talked about a lot is the fact that there are barriers that there there are kind of structures within the industry that prevents people that are not licensed attorneys within the state to go in and fill those needs. And it’s good to see an organization that apparently is, is set up to help try and identify who can be the best resource for this. And I think whether or not I’m you know, and I think I’ll talk about this in a little bit with your, your board. I mean, one of the one of the members on your board is an engineer, not a lawyer. So I don’t think this is a problem that has to be solved by lawyers.
Marlene Gebauer 17:46
Yeah, I mean, that just segues into my question, like, Who are you recruiting to become members of the JTA?
Yousef Kassim 17:51
Yeah, I mean, I think that there exist a lot of legitimate concerns about, you know, entrants into the space that are non attorneys. But I think, you know, what we found, though, is that being an attorney should not be a prerequisite. And, you know, Sonja is a wonderful example of that. Courtroom5, is a wonderful example of that. And I think we want to support organizations like that, that share our values, you know, we want to make sure that organizations that enter into this space, are ones that are providing value to folks that are protecting consumers, that aren’t pernicious ones that a community can stand behind. And so I think, you know, from the very beginning, we put an emphasis on communicating our values, and then from there trying to identify organizations that fit those values, and that we can better support.
Maya Markovich 18:43
I will say, we put a lot of effort, I’m kind of laughing, because Yousef, like, we put so much time and effort and justifiably so into our code of ethics, for GTA for membership applicants, because we really do need to bring together folks with shared values who are committed to delivering high quality products and services and are prioritizing customer interest, mitigating consumer harm, and supporting the collective success of the sector.
Greg Lambert 19:13
So with the board and the folks who founded JTA, like I said, I noticed like Sonja Ebron from Courtroom5 is there. We have a former Geek in Review guest Erin Levine from HelloDivorce, and Camila Lopez from People Clerk along with you Yousef, makeup the board and the founders. Looking at it, it’s one it’s very diverse, both in makeup and profession. So what is it that kind of pulled you all together to create JTA?
Yousef Kassim 19:48
Yeah, I think, you know, we were already aware of each other, if not having, you know, worked together before and, you know, Sonja and I went through the Duke Law Tech program, which I like to give a shout out to, for, you know, not only connecting, you know, Sonja and I, but providing so many opportunities, it was really wonderful experience for us. But, you know, Sonja, you know, had reached out and pitched the idea. And I think all of us were immediately receptive. We had, you know, at different times shared battle stories and best practices. And, you know, I think it just, you know, made a lot of sense to all of us that an organization like this exist, and started building from those conversations.
Marlene Gebauer 20:33
Maya, you must have known that as soon as I saw that Molly Wood, one of our favorite tech podcasters, total fan girl here, was on the advisory board, I would ask you how you were able to get her to help? Yeah, can you get her to go on our podcast?
Maya Markovich 20:51
She’s great. I mean, you know, she she and I have have have long, you know, been having discussions about the intersection of environmental justice and the justice system. You know, she obviously left NPR/Marketplace recently to build the climate tech vertical at launch, just as I was starting my justice tech Executive in Residence role at Village Capital. So the timing aligned and you know, we’re both very geeked on supporting each other’s work with such a strong overlap,
Greg Lambert 21:15
Marlene Gebauer 21:16
Greg Lambert 21:17
So what value is the in getting away from the the executive board now to your advisory board, which you have a long list of very well known names, not not just Molly Wood, but but others as well. One, how did you get such a diverse group of people to contribute to the organization? And what is it that you’re asking of them to, to give to the organization?
Maya Markovich 21:43
Yeah, I mean, well, well, I should start by saying, like, we aim to identify and create bridges, with people who are sharing our vision and values, we want to help support these efforts, and justice tech entrepreneurs, so we built this very powerful advisory board. And it unites the broad range of disciplines, as you notice that intersect with Justice tech, including VCs and impact investors, top reform advocates, judiciary, you know, academic innovators, and broadcast journalists, and tech leaders, they really represent the different pieces of the puzzle, that Justice tech as a vertical, and as a path to substantive positive impact and kind of as a as a orientation pulls together. So they’re all very eager to support. And we will are leveraging their expertise and networks on various fronts.
Greg Lambert 22:31
How is it that you pull the board together? And do they work more as individuals? Or do they work as a group?
Maya Markovich 22:39
Yeah, I mean, we’re just getting started. So the first, the first round was really us getting together as a founding team, and talking about who we thought would be, you know, number one, enthusiastic about the mission. And number two would want to kind of advocate for our mission and for advocacy efforts. So, you know, we’re planning an advisory board convening this month. And we of course, have a number of asks, but what they do is when and if they’re able to kind of pile in and help they do, it’s very much an opt in scenario with us, as we’re all volunteer driven, and lead. So they, you know, because they represent such disparate and various pieces of the puzzle, as I mentioned, Bill, they’ll want to and be able to contribute, I think, in significant, you know, different ways. And so we’re looking forward to hearing what they want to do as well.
Greg Lambert 23:38
Back to the mission on JTA, I know, there’s some staggering statistics on just how often people represent themselves in a court. And instead of having a legal representation there. And I know you’ve got some stats on that. Can you give us some of those statistics and what you think are some of the core reasons for the for just the large number of pro se’s out there?
Maya Markovich 24:02
Yeah, I mean, I could overwhelm you with statistics, but I’ll try not to. I mean, you know, number one, the US is ranked 126 out of 139 countries, when it comes to affordability of access to the legal system. 75% of matters at least one party is self represented. Sometimes it’s it’s off, it’s as high as 98%. You know, depending on the type of matter. There’s 23 million per year pro se litigants in the US. So there’s 5 billion people in the world that can’t access the legal system. In Legal Services Corporations report on the justice gap that was released last week, low income Americans received no or inadequate legal help for 92% of civil legal problems that impacted them substantially, which jumped unfortunately, from 86% in 2017. As to you know why? Concerns about costs are stopping people from even looking for legal help. Over half of them think they could even find a lawyer if they could afford it. So if this particular study had in that surveyed middle income Americans, I wager that the number would be, you know, even higher, you know, Legal Aid and pro bono are doing unbelievable work, but they’re under resourced and overwhelmed. And there’s this, you know, a massively underserved population in our communities is just not able to access their rights. And we need different models of which we believe that technology can and should be part of that solution.
Marlene Gebauer 25:31
Yeah, I was gonna ask, I mean, in addition to the cost barriers, I mean, is there also a barrier of actual people available to do the work? You know, just people who are who are in that space and doing that type of work?
Maya Markovich 25:46
Definitely. And I mean, in from the attorney side, there’s also a barrier to the types of work that it makes economic sense for lawyers to take on.
Marlene Gebauer 25:56
Exactly. What do you think are some answers to this problem, you know, where technology can be part of the solution? Yousef, let me let me start with you.
Yousef Kassim 26:04
Yeah, I think it’s not, you know, lawyers versus technology, I really think that, you know, there’s a place for technology for attorneys for legal aid clinics, for the courts and clerks. So I think all of us need to be looking for opportunities to incorporate technology. I think on the consumer side, there’s a desire and certainly a need for products and services that are outcome based, that are predictable, that are wrapped in some sort of consumer protections, you know, for folks. And I think that’s where there’s a large opportunity that we see that I know, Maya sees, and our co founders see. And then we’re, we’re, we’re focused on today. And so trying to understand where those consumer needs are, and, you know, you’re right, you know, even if all of the lawyers together, you know, focused on, you know, a lot of these efforts, it’s not possible for us to achieve, you know, the things that we need to achieve. And so, trying to understand where those gaps are, exactly, and where we can be most impactful today.
Marlene Gebauer 27:09
Maya, did you have any thoughts on that?
Maya Markovich 27:11
Yeah, I mean, I think there are more problems than solutions, obviously, by an exponential level. But we’re also starting to see kind of the, with JTA kind of being founded, kind of in the right place at the right time, with no centralizing force previously, in this nascent space, we’re starting to see more and more that, that there are kind of clusters of types of solutions that are coming out. And I don’t think it’s going to be long before we see a lot of the same patterns replicate themselves that we saw in legal tech, you know, five, six years ago.
Greg Lambert 27:47
You know, there’s, there’s a saying out there that, you know, if it were easy, everybody would be doing it. And I think that pretty well applies to what you’re doing with the Justice Technology Association. So we’ve talked about all the positives, but unfortunately, not everything’s gonna be positive here. So what are some of the obstacles that are going to be in your way, as you start to grow the association, and try to make an impact on access to justice, especially when you’re talking about across multiple states?
Maya Markovich 28:17
I can start but Yousef, I think you probably have more insight on this, I think I mean, as an organization, we’re aiming to quickly gain critical mass to speak for the sector, the entrepreneurs and the consumers. building awareness is still something that we’re in early stages on, as well, as, as you mentioned, you know, especially across multiple states with respect to UPL rules. Those are, you know, being fought state by state and debated extensively. And so in some states are not being debated at all. But beyond that, there’s also systemic reform efforts that overlap on the criminal justice side as well. And I think that, you know, the problems are huge, but also, so are the opportunities, I really always like to mention that, in my opinion, what I see in justice tech is both an immense challenge and an opportunity not not specifically with respect to JTA itself, but with the sector. And that is that the most powerful, impactful and successful justice tech initiatives are going to be those that include at their core, people with lived experience with the problem that they’re trying to solve. That’s not unusual. I think that’s something that VCs look for probably across, you know, many different types of verticals and as they’re doing their diligence, but in this particular sector, we’re talking about founders who have lived experience often are the same as those who are very much overlooked and underfunded. And so, what we need is support for them upstream as well upstream it’d be great if we had a venture studio, we should put that together. Because we need more support beyond just a trade association for these organizations. But Yousef, I would love to know your thoughts as well.
Yousef Kassim 30:13
I think you hit the nail on the head. I mean, we want to build a critical mass, you know, we want to be able to be a force to go after the issues that we see today. And I think just being able to prioritize, you know, the things that we want to do, because obviously, there’s a lot of obstacles that companies in this space face, or entrepreneurs interested in, breaking into this space will face and so certainly a lot of support across the board. You know, Maya mentioned VCs, and, you know, the need for additional investment in this space. And, you know, I echo that as well, as I think more and more investors today are starting to wake up to the tremendous market potential that’s out there. Yeah, you know, for companies in this space. And so I think just being able to prioritize some of the things that we need to do, as a nascent organization with relatively limited resources, we’re gonna make sure that we’re focused on the things that we need to do today. And I think trying to build a critical mass is certainly one of them.
Maya Markovich 31:17
I would just add just what something you said, Yousef, really made me remember that. Another big challenge is shifting the narrative, honestly, to consumer need and consumer protection. Beyond this debate, that is, you know, kind of in, in the higher echelons of either the legal profession or academia, it but I will say it’s a big effort, but we are definitely starting to see momentum on that.
Greg Lambert 31:43
What a novel concept to focus on the customer.
Marlene Gebauer 31:48
All right, so we’ve mentioned developing critical mass, we mentioned investment, and we mentioned shifting the narrative to consumer protection and consumer need. So what can lawyers and allied professionals do to help with JTA’s mission?
Maya Markovich 32:04
Well, we’re developing our funding model. For levels of sponsorship, of course, I’m going to start with that, right, so
Marlene Gebauer 32:10
Money, money, money.
Maya Markovich 32:11
We’re looking to connect with folks and organizations that want to be in early on this burgeoning ecosystem. We’re getting, you know, many inbound expressions of support and interest in collaboration. So I have no doubt that we’re going to be a force in the short term, but we welcome all those discussions, investors and founders are reaching out to us to for, you know, warm intros to funding and deal flow. The founders themselves want to connect on best practices and data, etc. So anyone who’s interested should reach out, I mean, I’m just going to say, to Yousef too, to either one of us, or go to our site, and JTA companies themselves to of course, apply for membership.
Yousef Kassim 32:51
Yeah, I mean, you know, I’m going to re emphasize the all hands on deck. I mean, I think Justice is a cause that all of us can get behind. And I think that, you know, whether you are somebody that has a legal need today, or, or not, certainly at some point in your life, there was a need for some sort of legal assistance. And so understanding that there are millions of your fellow Americans who are still going through that today. Folks that can’t afford to go through the traditional routes for assistance. And so it would benefit all of us to really get behind an organization like JTA. And, I mean, providing financial support is certainly one way to do it. But also, you know, if you work at a company that you think has shared values with what we’re working on, reach out to us and see if there are ways that you could partner with us, or some of the companies that, you know, are members of our organization. You know, if you work for local, you know, state or even federal government, and you think that you have a role to play in promoting justice for consumers today, I mean, reaching out to us and finding ways that you can help and so even beyond the financial aspect, you know, I think there are individual actions that we can all take, that can certainly get us closer to more hands on deck, and then, you know, closer and closer to justice.
Greg Lambert 34:12
Sounds good. So, before we let you guys go, we’re going to ask you our crystal ball questions. So each of you go ahead and pull out your crystal ball and get ready to peer into the future for us. Yousef, I’m going to start with you. What is your crystal ball telling you about how the legal industry and access to justice issues are going to look say in two to five years?
Yousef Kassim 34:35
Yeah, I think, you know, still two to five years is a very short timeline here. I think that in the near term, though, you’re gonna see a lot more law firms, a lot more governments, whether state, federal local, interested in adopting technology into what it is that they do, and so if they have not already and so I think you’re going to See more and more entrants into the legal tech justice tech space. I think whether that’s, you know, new companies forming new investors coming in. And I think you’re gonna see more and more initiatives starting to sprout, you know, where you’re going to see, you know, a community being built, not just attorneys, not just, you know, companies within our space. But, you know, folks really banding together. And that’s the hope is that, you know, more and more people can understand that there’s a role they can all play, you know, to support the work that we’re doing.
Marlene Gebauer 35:34
And Maya, what is your crystal ball saying about JTA and its impact?
Maya Markovich 35:38
Well, I think I have a little bit of assistance from my, you know, rear view crystal ball in terms of legal tech. Because, you know, I see a lot of similarities from what I saw with legal tech starting in 2015. You know, this justice tech is an emerging ecosystem that we’re building, it aims to benefit all players, we’re bringing this entrenched system where everything’s aligned against innovation into the 21st century, the scope is daunting, but there’s a huge amount of opportunity. Of course, it’s different in the sense that, you know, there’s additional complexity, especially for you know, impact investing, direct to consumer versus supporting the business and practice of law, you know, focusing on the legal consumer being much more client concentric. What we started to see maybe a couple of years ago, and legal tech is already happening in justice tech, things like platformisation. And these kinds of clusters of solutions, where, you know, last year, everybody was all of a sudden, like, mainstream, everything discovered CLM, you know, and I think that we’re starting to see that even, it’s a more a little bit more savvy of a market, as well as kind of a quicker understanding of the end of the positive impact that technology can make and disrupting, you know, such a such an entrenched space. I think there’s no question that we have to all work together to fight for access to justice. So I don’t think that there’s any single solution to the crisis. You know, we need pro bono lawyers, we need more support of self help centers and legal service organizations, and more focused on just how widespread the challenges are. And I think that, as Yousef mentioned, I really do think that it’s just going to become more and more accepted that technology is one of kind of the tools in the arsenal that we can use to address this incredible gap that we’ve got.
Greg Lambert 37:28
Well, Maya Markovich and Yousef Kassim. Want to thank you both for coming in and talking about the Justice Technology Association. It’s sounds like guys are well, on your way to make an impact here. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you so much, you so much.
Greg Lambert 37:47
Well, legal tech, and justice tech, which is a new phrase, again, very small world, it was great to have Maya back on on the show and be introduced to Yousef and the great stuff that they’re doing. They’re at the Justice Technology Association.
Marlene Gebauer 38:05
Yeah, exactly. I mean, I really enjoyed listening to them about what you know, what their mission is, and how they’re trying to accomplish it. And, you know, I really think we’re gonna see more, and we’re probably going to have more guests on sort of in this space. It sounds like is this just a sort of a burgeoning area.
Greg Lambert 38:23
Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, you know, it’s kind of I’ll, I’ll give a shout out to our friend, Cat Moon, who, few weeks ago on Twitter had posted that, you know, with the industry, you know, it’s perfectly fine that we regulate ourselves and set kind of the rules of the practice of law and an access to justice. But we also have to be able to recognize when we’re unwilling or unable to fill a need, that we need to allow some creativity, and maybe even some outside people to come in and fill those needs. And I hope JTA helps kind of shine a spotlight on that.
Marlene Gebauer 39:03
Outside people, process, and technology.
Greg Lambert 39:05
Yeah. So thanks, again to Yousef Kassim from easyexpunctions.com And our good friend, Maya Markovich, for coming on, and talking to us about GTA.
Marlene Gebauer 39:16
Yeah, thank you both. And of course, thanks to all of you for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoy the show, share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you. So reach out to us on social media. I can be found at @gebauerm on Twitter,
Greg Lambert 39:30
And I can be reached @glambert on Twitter.
Marlene Gebauer 39:33
Or you can leave us a voicemail on The Geek in Review Hotline at 713-487-7270. And as always, the music here is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thank you, Jerry.
Greg Lambert 39:45
Yeah, thank you, Jerry.
Marlene Gebauer 39:49
Always trying to figure out different ways to say Jerry’s name.
Greg Lambert 39:54
All right, well, I’ll talk to you later Marlene.
Marlene Gebauer 39:56
Okay, bye bye.