We all know that it takes some “outside of the box thinking” to help improve the legal system in the United States, especially when it comes to Pro Se litigants. Courtroom5 CEO and co-founder Sonja Ebron does exactly that with her startup focused on guiding Pro Se litigants through complex court processes. Ed Walters, CEO and co-founder of Fastcase wants the legal industry to stop trying so hard to reinforce that “box.” Together, Ebron and Walters are creating a process to help litigants access and navigate the court system through a combination of case process instructions, legal information, Artificial Intelligence, and collaboration with legal professionals. Eventually, Ebron would like to see the courts themselves leverage Courtroom5’s abilities to help those seeking legal recourse.
Walters stresses that the “North Star” of legal practice should be the wellbeing of clients. In a system where according to The World Justice Project, over 75% of legal needs go unmet, and some 80% of citizens seeking judicial action do so without the use of legal professionals. Part of that solution lies with the courts and the need to focus on the ability “to filter out people who need lawyers helping people who don’t.”
Once again, this is not about replacing lawyers with robots, or encouraging Pro Se litigants to not seek legal assistance. Courtroom5 and Fastcase are seeking ways to improve the overall process of placing the right information in front of litigants, at the right time. Even if those instructions are to highly recommend seeking legal counsel.
Listen on mobile platforms: Apple Podcasts | Spotify
- Ed Walters on Stephen Poor’s Pioneers and Pathfinders Podcast
- TGIR Ep. 158 with Maya Markovich and Yousef Kassim on The Justice Technology Association
- Duke Law Tech Lab
Music: Jerry David DeCicca
Marlene Gebauer 0:23
Welcome to The Geek in Review podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.
Greg Lambert 0:30
And I’m Greg Lambert.
Marlene Gebauer 0:31
We have a great show lined up this week with Ed Walters from Fastcase and Sonja Ebron. From Courtroom5 discussing their collaboration to help people gain access to the court system here in the US.
Greg Lambert 0:42
Ed’s been a longtime proponent of democratizing the law, as he puts it, and Sonja Ebron is an engineering professor who, you know, she just leveraged her own terrible experience in trying to navigate the legal system into a product that made it much easier for everyone else.
Marlene Gebauer 0:59
Sonja is also one of the founders of the Justice Technology Association. So if you haven’t listened to the episode from a couple weeks ago with Maya Markovich, and Yousef Kassim, let me recommend that to you.
Greg Lambert 1:10
Yeah, definitely, definitely one to listen to. Well, Marlene, congratulations. I know this week, you have the the 2022 Women of Legal Tech event and from the ABA on Wednesday of this week, so congrats on that. How is your speech coming?
Marlene Gebauer 1:27
I’m working on it right now. You know, it’s like always gotta be right on deadline. So it’s, I’m feeling pretty good about it. And I’m very excited to attend this session. There’s like, there’s a great lineup of speakers. And, you know, the the honorees this year are absolutely, in fact, fantastic. You know, many of whom have been on the
Greg Lambert 1:48
podcast. Yep. And many who will be on the podcast. That’s right.
Marlene Gebauer 1:52
If we haven’t gotten you, we’re gonna get to you. Absolutely. So you know, you and I have been a little swamped at our day jobs this week. So a little bit. So we decided to skip out on the information inspirations this week, and just jump into our interview with Ed and Sonja. Hopefully, we’ll have a little time to catch our breath over the holiday weekend and have something for you all next week. In fact, tweet us any inspirations that you might have. We’d love to hear from the audience.
Greg Lambert 2:21
Yes, I’d love it when somebody else does my job for me.
Marlene Gebauer 2:25
Well, you know, we want to be able to talk to people about things that are interesting to them. So if you find something, absolutely send it along.
Greg Lambert 2:35
We’d like to welcome Dr. Sonja Ebron, CEO and co founder of Courtroom5 and welcome back, our friend Ed Walters, CEO and co founder at Fastcase, Sonja and Ed, we’re very excited to have you here on The Geek in Review.
Sonja Ebron 2:50
Thanks so much. Great to be here.
Ed Walters 2:52
Thanks for having us.
Marlene Gebauer 2:53
We’ve brought you both on to talk about the Courtroom5/Fastcase collaboration. listeners may have heard Sonja’s name a couple of weeks ago when we had Yousef Kassim and Maya Markovich, on the show to talk about the Justice Technology Association, and Sonja’s work in creating JTA. Before we jump into the collaboration with Ed, Sonja, would you mind telling us a bit about your background, and we all want to know why someone with a PhD in Engineering is so interested in he lping out the legal industry, we figured you’d be like running away.
Sonja Ebron 3:22
Thanks Marlene. I’m interested in improving access to the legal industry, which I think obviously helps the industry but you know, I want to need it that access is the reason that I’m interested here. Education doesn’t always equal wealth. I’m happy to have college degrees. But it doesn’t always go with strong finances. And people without wealth, as we all know, often get caught up in the legal system. I got sued, I was a college professor at the time, I had a great income. And I went to a lawyer to get some representation, I quickly found out I couldn’t afford it. And what that meant for me is that I had to represent myself, and didn’t really get a fair hearing in court. I felt that we deserve better as a society and to treat our citizens like that. And I wanted to want it to help fix it up. But that’s essentially how I got into the legal industry as a user of it. I don’t have any other legal training than that.
Greg Lambert 4:21
I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken, then I shouldn’t have been treated like this by the court system. So the idea behind Courtroom5, dug in a little bit this week in prep for, it is really interesting, because you’re doing a lot of what I think we’re trying to teach our lawyers to do and that is a lot of the process that’s involved understanding the language, understanding what needs to be done and what doesn’t need to be done, and how those inefficiencies can cause more problems down the line. So can you give us like a 30,000 foot view of what the typical customer is for Courtroom5 and how it is that you help them as a pro se litigant?
Sonja Ebron 5:11
So we decided to focus on the tougher civil claims. We don’t do traffic tickets or the summary procedures, small claims, that sort of stuff. We’ve got folks handling their own foreclosure cases, personal injury cases, medical malpractice, it’s all over the board.
Greg Lambert 5:27
So you went big,
Sonja Ebron 5:28
And we went big, we’ve been, you know, it was there are other folks doing those so called simpler cases, you can find places to get help with your traffic ticket and so forth. But um, I like innovation. I like doing things that haven’t been done. So we did, we decided to focus on the tougher cases. But when you’re representing yourself in those cases, you all know, it isn’t Judge Judy’s court. You’re going to file hundreds sometimes of highly technical legal documents, before the facts even began to matter. And when you’re when you’re doing that on your own, without any legal training, at each step, you essentially have two big questions. One, what do I file right now? And secondly, how can I make that filing persuasive? So I can get to the next step in the case, right. And so we have essentially distilled, highly technical legal procedures into a five step process for every filing to make sure that you’re presenting to the court the most persuasive argument you can do. I can spend hours on this, I won’t take our time that way. But essentially, that’s it.
Marlene Gebauer 6:34
I got a follow up on the one thing you mentioned, because you were talking about they do their own personal injury and med mal cases. And I’m just fascinated by that. Because I mean, a lot of that those are those can be very complex cases. I mean, you have a lot of medical records, you know, usually expert testimony is kind of a key feature of those of those things. How does that work?
Sonja Ebron 6:53
Yeah, it is tough. So our focus is on civil procedure is on making sure people know what their options are at any particular time. And then what law matters at each step, right? Where we stand now, we’re not able to get people experts, but we can help them understand when those experts are needed, and what kinds of expertise are needed. And they can go out on the on the public market and find that expertise. So yeah, that’s but it’s on understanding, you know, if you’re at the beginning of a case, it’s not the best time to be thinking about admissibility of evidence, you can get into that a little bit later. If you’re on the eve of trial, you know, trying to get the case dismissed. I mean, that horses left the barn, right. And so we started just trying to focus help people focus on what’s in front of them, and doing a good job there. So they understand the standards, they make good decisions about what to do at any particular time.
Marlene Gebauer 7:50
This is great, because you’re laying out the steps for people, it’s like, okay, this, then this, then this, then this, because I think it can be very overwhelming otherwise.
Sonja Ebron 7:57
That’s what we found. I mean, our folks, our customers come to us overwhelmed, just don’t have a clue what to do at any particular time. And so our focus is on getting them a sense of comfort, just in time education. So they can, again, just focus on what’s in front of them.
Greg Lambert 8:14
One of the five steps is actually interacting with your AI tool, which you’ve named Sylvia. Can you tell us a little bit about about Silvia and what she does?
Sonja Ebron 8:23
A little bit I can tell you, her primary job is to help people is to track a user’s case, just to help people to understand what their options are reasonable options are at that time, we have to be careful about that, for good reasons. We don’t want to we don’t practice law, we can’t offer advice. But we can help people just understand the lay of the land again at each step. And so that’s our primary job is just to track where people are in their case, and point them to appropriate information and training, often video based training that we’ve developed on our website. Her other roles, though, because she is really really popular is to do some of the superficial customer support. All right. So if somebody wants to find out where do I find out about summary judgment, she can point the user to the resources we have available if somebody wants to understand the discovery process in general, she can point people to to that information. She can also point folks to a contact us form, right if they need some customer support, that sort of thing. So she is taking up more and more of our work every day.
Marlene Gebauer 9:33
All right, well, why Sylvia?
Sonja Ebron 9:35
I have no idea I didn’t pick that name.
Greg Lambert 9:40
Someone in marketing got that one.
Sonja Ebron 9:43
I’m lucky I don’t have to make all the decisions these days. So but I like it. It works. It works for our customers as well. So
Greg Lambert 9:52
well, Ed, I promise we’ll get to you here in a second. But Sonja is what what you’re doing super fascinating and there’s I know that you, you know, lawyers aren’t completely scripted out of out of this process that you do have law firms that are partners with Courtroom5, at least as far as I could tell. How is it that you interact with the legal profession as well as just helping process?
Sonja Ebron 10:22
Well, so you know, in most of the cases that I’ve personally been involved in, and other folks on my team who represented themselves, and we hear from our customers all the time, we all really do want access to lawyers, right? These are experts in the in the litigation process, we don’t want to none of us wants to do this on our own. A big challenge for most Americans, and we just simply can’t afford full representation. And so we’ve long seen limited scope services as a way to close the justice gap. But you can’t walk into a lawyer’s office, generally, with your personal injury case or your foreclosure and say, I want limited scope services. Because you don’t know how to task that lawyer, you don’t speak the lingo don’t, you know, you don’t, you just don’t know how to use those sorts of services. And so what we found is that most of the limited scope services available are really pay as you go services where the lawyer still does all the work, you just, you know, pay for it as you go. And if you can’t afford a lawyer, you can’t afford it on pay as you go either. So we see lots of refugees from that model, who have, frankly, been dumped in the middle of their cases, and just have no no clue where to take it from there. And so what we understood long ago is that technology and education, the sort we provide at Courtroom5, could help people could help prepare people to use lawyers and, you know, in that limited scope way. And so that’s essentially where we are now we think we’ve got the tech where it needs to be, we’ve gotten great feedback from our, from our customers. And we are now, thanks to Ed, in Fastcase able to bring lawyers onto our platform, and to take care of a lot of the administrative burden for them and providing limited scope services. So I’m happy to share more about that. But we aren’t working with law firms directly yet there are some in our pipeline, there’s a short onboarding process requires verifying that you’re actually a lawyer, setting up a payment system so that our customers can pay them outright. So we don’t get into regulatory trouble there. And some other things. So we’ve got folks in the pipeline, but we’ve got some customers ready to use them as we speak.
Marlene Gebauer 12:41
Is there a feedback system for your customers in terms of who they they end up going with? I mean, do you guys get that information in terms of whether they felt the experience was a good one?
Sonja Ebron 12:52
We will do that, sort of under the hood to start and then develop a more robust public or, you know, reviewing system, but we aren’t doing that initially, we’ve got some, the difficulty of being in a regulated environment, as you might understand is you have to do all of these things carefully, deliberately. And so we’re going to study it a little bit first .
Marlene Gebauer 13:14
Got it, got it.
Greg Lambert 13:15
One of the examples that I use a lot is what the Travis County system is doing here in Texas, and that is they actually have a before you as a pro se litigant before you can actually appear before the court you have to get what they call the the golden ticket on certain matters, which basically there’s a self help center that you have to go to that kind of does a little bit of the process to make sure that things are in the right order. Any plans on down the road for Courtroom5 to work with courts directly to help them with their pro se litigants?
Sonja Ebron 13:57
No question about it. I mean, I think in an ideal world courts would be offering a Courtroom5 to their constituents for millions of Americans.
Greg Lambert 14:07
I think we found the problem.
Sonja Ebron 14:08
Yeah. Absolutely. And I think we found a solution. So it’s a question of getting some buy in from the courts. We’ve got a lot to demonstrate to them. And we expect to do that over the next short period of time.
Marlene Gebauer 14:23
Okay, Sonja, we’ve taken up a lot of your time. So it’s your turn now. Welcome back. I know you have a passion for public access to legal information. What prompted you to work with Sonja and her co founder Deborah Sloan on this project to provide unbundled legal services to self represented litigants?
Ed Walters 14:40
Well, that’s really easy. I mean, Fastcase’s mission from the very start has been to democratize the law to make sure more people have meaningful access to the law. And as a kind of legal database provider, there’s some things we can do, but there’s a lot that we can’t do. And so we’re super proud to accelerate Courtroom5 work here to kind of bridge that gap. The legal services market is still pretty broken. Even after many years of people pushing against the Access to Justice Movement. The World Justice Project says 77% of legal needs, legal needs are unmet. If you look back to the 2014, ABA, American Bar Foundation survey, they said that it was something like 80% of people with legal problems, don’t address them with the help of a lawyer. And it’s common knowledge that people’s outcomes are much worse. If they go it alone without the help of a lawyer, it doesn’t need to be the case. It’s not every matter that is going to require a lawyer or every step in a matter that requires the help of a lawyer. And so if we can just bring the legal services market a little closer to people who need that help, and frankly, it will create some more work for people in you know, who are lawyers who could use some more business. If we can just bridge that gap a little bit, then it creates market opportunities for the legal profession, and better outcomes for people who need help. It seems like wins all around. So this is really easy for us if we can just help accelerate Sonja’s work at Courtroom5. We’re thrilled to do that.
Greg Lambert 14:41
Ed, what do you think are some of the barriers that are set up to that kind of get in the way of helping people actually access justice?
Ed Walters 16:40
Well, you know, I want to start where you started, Greg, which is in courts. You know, I don’t I don’t think that courts are really set up to filter out people who need lawyers helping people who don’t. And if we can make processes just a little bit simpler, it would help a lot of people to work their way through the courts. It might not replace lawyers, I don’t think that’s even a goal we should have. But I do think it would make it easier for people who aren’t represented to navigate that system, it doesn’t need to be as complex as it is. So there’s a lot of kind of barriers in judicial procedure, in its inscrutability, and its lack of comprehensive guides that people can understand. So I think that would make a huge difference in the process. And then I think, as Sonja was saying before, there is this kind of all or nothing idea about representation. People either are represented by a lawyer from the very beginning of a process to the very end of a process, which is enormously expensive. Or they’re completely unrepresented, where they are effectively thrown to the wolves, and left to try and fend for themselves in a complex, difficult process. And so I think what what Courtroom5 is saying is that there are places where people can probably go it alone, with just a little bit of guidance, and some assistance. And then places where maybe they might use the help of a lawyer productively. And I hope that’s kind of expands the market for legal services so that lawyers can be expert guides. Even in a world that isn’t all or nothing.
Marlene Gebauer 18:24
Sonja, I know you’ve participated in a Duke law tech lab plus the LexisNexis accelerator. And I think you’re currently involved with Josh Blandi and Unicourt’s legal innovation contest. So it sounds it sounds like you enjoy competing. As a self proclaimed Jane of All Trades, what motivates you when it comes to these types of innovation challenges?
Sonja Ebron 18:46
Oh, I love competing. You’re absolutely right. I love to win. And let me just say the follow up on Ed, you know, we had a number of opportunities to bring this solution to bear and we’ve had inbound for four years, we’ve been working on this solution in public and I really wanted to work with Fastcase There’s not a better group of people to work with. Ed, Bill. Christina, Jack, you know, Joe Fassbender had been just wonderful. The engineering team. I mean, everybody has been fantastic. there and it just couldn’t have worked out I think any better for us. But that’s the you know, I’m old enough to know, you just don’t want to work with people you don’t like. Right. And so we were lucky enough to have a choice of organizations to work with, and are just really so glad that Fastcase came on board with us. This kind of innovation, I think is to Ed’s point is I think going to shape the industry is going to have some significant impact on the Access to Justice problem. And for me, it’s just a win all the way around. So it’s not always competitive. It’s just about winning and getting partners that you can bring to a successful outcome here. I guess I am a Jane of all trades. That’s, that’s fair, I don’t do anything in particular Well, I’ve tried to focus on learning, I’ve always just had a great love for learning. I stayed in college way too long, because I love learning. But I’m also a problem solver. I like tackling big problems. And so the Access to Justice crisis was like a bouncing red ball. For me, I couldn’t resist it once I sort of understood it, and in fact, was impacted by it. And so again, it’s a huge problem that I wanted to tackle. Ultimately, like most people, I just want to make things better, I look for ways to make anything better. And so once we had a sense that there was a solution, inside of Courtroom5, it’s just been, I mean, I’d spend 25 hours a day on this, if I could.
Greg Lambert 20:57
Well, I want to get back Sonja to the topic of you, being someone from outside the typical legal industry profession, because we talk a lot with people like Marlene and myself who have gone through law school may have taken a different path, or people that have worked in the legal industry. And it sounds like you had a bad experience that motivated you to find a solution. And that just happened that bad experience just happened to be a legal industry bad experience. So what would you suggest to people who are are not legal professionals, but want to make a difference when it comes to issues that they see in the legal industry? Especially when it comes to things like access to justice or improving delivery of legal services? How would you suggest that they go about go about it?
Sonja Ebron 21:51
I think, well, let me. Let me give you some more background. I am an electrical engineer, I studied utilities, in school, transformers, power lines, that sort of stuff. And this is actually Courtroom5 is actually my third entrepreneurial adventure. Yes,
Greg Lambert 22:10
We can use you for the power system here in Texas, definitely,
Marlene Gebauer 22:14
Definitely. Come help us.
Sonja Ebron 22:18
Well, you know, my first two companies, my first two startups were in the utility space. And I call them great learning experiences I made, you know, 50 cents, probably from each of them, ultimately, but but it as it turned out, I thought I knew more than I did. Because I’d been educated in that space. And so what I’d say to somebody outside the legal industry who’s looking to deliver a solution in it, and I’ll be happy and proud about that, maintain that child’s curiosity about the space, you don’t know anything. And so the questions are what matter most in these sorts of startups. So I’m really happy that I’m not a lawyer, I think it would have been much more difficult for me, and everyone on my team to deliver these solutions. If we’ve had any sort of legal training, right, we needed to think outside the box. And that’s what we’ve done. It’s really difficult when you’re in the box to do that. So So I would encourage anyone outside the legal space who’s looking at working in the space, just to remain curious, take pride in your lack of knowledge. Although you always want to be learning, right, you will have the best questions available. But it’s important to look at these problems, as though you know nothing and look for answers to your questions that you could explain to a six year old.
Greg Lambert 23:45
I love that. So Ed, what what can we as legal professionals do to help these allied professionals help us?
Ed Walters 23:56
Well, while people are trying to think outside the box, we could stop reinforcing the box.
Greg Lambert 24:02
Ed Walters 24:04
I feel like we keep making the box more resilient. And that might not be the best approach. Yeah, I think that the North Star for us should be consumers of legal services. It should be clients and, you know, not just clients who are traditionally served. So people who are going through this process should be our North Star as a profession. All of the rules of ethics are kind of created to protect clients, even rules about you know, kind of the unauthorized practice of law are designed in their kind of core to protect clients. And so I would just say we should keep the well being of clients in the center of our profession. And I want to I can’t say this emphatically enough, not just the clients we’re currently serving. You can’t have an ethical practice of law, if the only people we can ethically serve are 20%. It’s not ethical to reinforce a system that only protects the very wealthy few, or the very risk averse few. And so we should be thinking about the well being of clients, as we do, you know, in our ethics rules, but we should be engaged in system thinking about it. How can we get more clients served in the process? How can we do that without, you know, relying on pro bono work or charity worked by lawyers, here and there, to kind of step outside of this box that we’ve created? And that’s, that’s the key for me, how can we protect clients in a system that is designed to process the Justice needs of clients? And see ourselves as guides in that process, and not the beneficiaries of the process, legal processes is set up to protect lawyers, it’s set up to help clients with their needs.
Sonja Ebron 26:05
I want to absolutely pick up on on what Ed said about being available having legal industry available to the larger number of potential clients, the Legal Services Corporation released their justice gap report, just a couple of weeks back. And one of the startling statistics there, beyond the fact that the justice gap is widening, is that there are a large number of people who experience legal problems in their lives and don’t even realize that the solutions are legal. That those issues can be resolved in the courts. And so right now, as Ed said, we’re serving about 20% of the existing client base. But those are folks who know they have a legal problem, the actual number of people that the courts can impact is multiples of that. And so we’ve really got to make our courts our justice system available for its purpose, and reach those massive number of people who should be relying on the courts to to resolve their issues and not on the streets as we’re seeing it these days. To that point, then JTA, the Justice Technology Association, I’m just so happy and proud to be a part of it. And it really appreciate you have in Maya and Yousef on a couple of weeks back. And the shout outs to me personally, but this is really a group effort is that Camilla Lopez as well from PeopleClerk, Erin Levine, very well known at HelloDivorce, I would just give a shout out to the Duke Law Tech Lab, which you also mentioned a few moments ago, because we all met there, or through the Duke LawTech Lab, we’re all graduates that I met that we met Maya, as one of the advisors they’re also met Ed there’s one of the advisors and so Duke law has just really been a become something of a fulcrum in the Justice tech space, really happy to be associated with them and to have them here in Durham. The Justice Technology Association is a trade organization for the growing number of technology solutions that are trying to have an impact on this access to justice gap, I think we all realize, again, that there just aren’t going to ever be enough lawyers for the massive access needs for you know, for the court to help people access the courts. And so technology, as Maya said in that wonderful interview with you all is going to have to be a part of the solution. And what we’re seeing is, again, a growing number of companies, innovators, bringing technology solutions to various parts of this problem, just really excited at the members that we’ve already brought on, we’ve got a couple of dozen now and more in the pipeline, and so expecting to have some voice in the regulatory space in the consumer protection, space. And just all of us collectively being able to close that that justice gap.
Marlene Gebauer 29:07
So we’re now at the crystal ball question of the show. Sonja, would you peer into your crystal ball for us and tell us what you see the next five or so years for the legal service industry?
Sonja Ebron 29:17
Great, great question. You know, I am really happy about the growth and development of the Justice tech space. I think that we are going to have some impact on closing the justice gap. As I mentioned earlier, my vision and I tend to do what I say I’m going to do and I’ve made a commitment to having an impact have to have in Courtroom5, I have an impact on this space. I’d like to see more people having confidence in our justice system, relying on our justice system with a sense that they’re going to have a fair at least hearing not necessarily a favorable outcome but they will at least have some confidence they will be heard in court. And I think technology solutions that I and other people are bringing to bear will have some significant impact on that.
Greg Lambert 30:10
And Ed, besides five more Fastcase50 winners, what do you see say in the next five years or so for the legal industry?
Ed Walters 30:20
My crystal ball is showing me this summer. Greg, you wearing an LSU blazer to the American Association of Law Library’s annual meeting.
Greg Lambert 30:33
Well, I think that’s one thing that will definitely come true.
Ed Walters 30:39
Beyond that, it gets hazier. For those of you who don’t know, Greg, and I had like a little side bet on the LSU, Oklahoma national championship play in in 2019.
Greg Lambert 30:54
I’ve been able to postpone it for two years. But I’m afraid the bill is come due on on a very poor decision on my part to bet on OU.
Ed Walters 31:08
One of the things that I can sort of see beyond that, beyond you’re wearing the LSU blazer is that I hope that we can use kind of data about court outcomes, to take some of the risk out of litigation for clients. That doesn’t just mean like kind of fancy corporate clients, it means clients of all kinds. One of the big problems with the justice gap is that engaging in our legal system is really risky. It’s expensive. If you lose a lawyer, it’s expensive to go through a process that you don’t understand by yourself. And, you know, one of the things we’re trying to do with Fastcase to aggregate a lot of legal data, not just judicial opinions. But now with Docket Alarm, like a lot of the kind of machinations that lead up to the trial, the pleadings and motions practice, so that people can better understand what’s likely to happen, they can understand the steps, they can understand, who often wins or loses at various stages of the process, and to have a better understanding going in what’s likely to happen going out. Today, all of the risk in these kinds of litigation matters is on clients. And when a law firm says we’re going to file this motion, there’s never an answer to the question, are we going to win that motion? Does it make sense to file that motion? What comes next? But I think in the future, the more we’re able to extract from the data, the more we’re able to understand about that process in a kind of a big data way, the less the less risk there is on clients. And the more people I hope will participate in the legal services market, and hopefully with the help of guides from Courtroom5, and lawyers and limited scope, but also with the assistance of data and better maps of the process.
Sonja Ebron 33:01
I should add that part of our partnership is access to Fastcase’s data. And so we are able to put just a wealth of data that some of some of which Ed mentioned into the hands of pro se litigants, which is extremely powerful for them.
Greg Lambert 33:18
That does sound exciting. And I’m telling you when I when I was investigating what Courtroom5 was all about. I’m just I’m just kind of bowled over by what you’re doing. It’s it’s something I think actually will make a difference. When when people are trying to access justice and get get like you said a fair outcome.
Sonja Ebron 33:40
Thank you for that, Greg. Appreciate it.
Marlene Gebauer 33:42
So Dr. Sonja Ebron and Ed Walters, we thank you for taking the time to talk with us about the Courtroom5/Fastcase collaboration.
Sonja Ebron 33:49
Really great to be here.
Ed Walters 33:50
Thanks for having us.
Greg Lambert 33:57
Again, and if you… I was gonna say I was really excited because as I dug deeper into what Courtroom5 was doing, because I saw the big announcement with Ed and Sonja on the collaboration. And I was thinking one thing but then when I got into looking at the site and what it’s doing, it’s like wow, this house How have we not figured this out before? And apparently it’s because we need an engineer.
Marlene Gebauer 34:27
Well, I mean, there were a couple of things that I thought were really cool about this. I mean, first of all, they’re giving you direction every step of the way, like okay, you do this, and then you do this, and then you do this and then you do this and you know this direction
Greg Lambert 34:41
It’s direction on process is not right. It’s not legal instruction, correct. It’s step by steps of what what needs to be done. But
Marlene Gebauer 34:50
but if you need that legal instruction, it’s this is gonna let you know it’s like you do you know, this is where you’re going to need somebody here are some people or you know, look We were talking about this is where you will need an expert. You know, here’s where you can go to find those things. The other thing that I really thought was was fascinating again, I was I was telling our guests before that I don’t, I don’t know that any I don’t know of any place else that’s doing it like this is that the idea of breaking it down to these steps where you can do XY and Z yourself. But then A, B, and C, you’re going to need some legal help on that. And so So basically, it’s you don’t need an attorney for everything. And I don’t I don’t know if that’s going to be threatening to people, well, to attorneys, not to people, but if that’s gonna be threatening to attorneys, or if that’s going to be welcome, because you’re dealing with a lot of the stuff that, you know, can be handled with without legal expertise, and allows you to kind of focus more on doing the legal work. I just don’t know how they’re going to see it, like if they’re going to see this as enhancing their work or is work being taken away.
Greg Lambert 36:01
Yeah, well, I think we can probably both guess. Initially,
Marlene Gebauer 36:06
I was like, I mean, is anybody even doing the work? So I mean, if no one’s doing the work, then then no harm no foul. So
Greg Lambert 36:12
I don’t think that, you know, the there is, as our guest last week, Zach had said on his crystal ball question from legal week, you know, there’s almost an infinite capacity that’s out there, and demand is not going to go down. There’s, there’s so many, you know, it’s like 80% of the market is not being served.
Marlene Gebauer 36:38
And factions, more people. Yeah.
Greg Lambert 36:41
So, obviously, the business model right now is, you know, at least if you’re pro se or yours, Sonja, who’s a professor, and still can’t afford legal, you know, legal services, which is something that we really don’t talk about enough is, you know, it’s not just someone who is at a minimum wage job. It’s middle class, America can’t afford this. And so any, any type of process improvement, any type of technology that can streamline the process, make it more efficient. And outline, here’s the steps that you need to take. There’s it’s going to be winners across the board.
Marlene Gebauer 37:25
Yep, I agree. Well,
Greg Lambert 37:27
So thanks again to Dr. Sonja Ebron. And Ed Walters, from Courtroom5 and Fastcase collaboration for coming back on the show. And, and of course, Thanks, Ed for pointing out that I had to wear that gaudy purple and gold LSU jacket. But you know, I made a bad bet.
Marlene Gebauer 37:49
It happened sometimes. 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 38:02
And I can be reached @glambert on Twitter.
Marlene Gebauer 38:07
Or you can leave us a voicemail on The Geek in Review Hotline at 713-487-7270 and as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca Thank you Jerry.
Greg Lambert 38:17
Thank you Mr. DeCicca. Marlene, I will talk to you later.
Marlene Gebauer 38:21