In the latest episode of “The Geek in Review,” Marlene Gebauer hosts a fascinating conversation with Sonja Ebron and Debra Slone, the dynamic couple behind Courtroom5, a pioneering startup in the Justice Tech space aimed at empowering pro se litigants. As part of the “Love & Legal Tech” series we discuss the personal and professional relationship that propels Courtroom5 forward, providing valuable insights into the intersection of love, partnership, and innovation in the legal tech industry.

Courtroom5 stands out in the Justice Tech sector by offering a unique platform designed to educate, encourage, and empower individuals representing themselves in court. Sonja, as CEO, orchestrates a broad range of responsibilities, from technical leadership to marketing efforts, while Debra, wielding her expertise as a PhD Librarian and CTO, focuses on managing the extensive content that forms the backbone of Courtroom5’s service. Their combined efforts have earned Courtroom5 recognition and awards, underscoring the impact of their work on providing accessible legal support to those without formal legal representation.

The story of how Sonja and Debra met over a game of spades in Durham, North Carolina, adds a personal touch to their professional narrative, highlighting the serendipitous beginnings of their relationship and eventual collaboration. This personal bond, fortified by shared experiences and a mutual understanding of being “screwed over in court,” has been instrumental in shaping the vision and mission of Courtroom5. Their complementary skills – Sonja’s technical acumen and Debra’s information management prowess – enable them to tackle the challenges of running a startup while fostering a shared passion for justice and empowerment.

Working together, however, is not without its challenges. Sonja and Debra candidly discuss the continuous effort required to balance their professional and personal lives, emphasizing the necessity of intentional scheduling and the discipline to separate business discussions from personal time. This ongoing negotiation between their roles as business partners and life partners is a testament to their commitment to both their relationship and their venture.

Their advice to other couples considering a similar path is poignant: prioritize the personal relationship, ensure a solid foundation before embarking on a business venture together, and select a partner who can significantly contribute to the business’s success. Sonja and Debra’s story is not just about love and legal tech; it’s a narrative of resilience, mutual respect, and the unyielding belief in their mission to democratize legal support. Their story is an inspiring reminder of the power of partnership in navigating the challenges and triumphs of entrepreneurship.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠


Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech: Sonja Ebron and Debra Slone of Courtroom5

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.

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Jerry David DeCicca


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 160 – Sonja Ebron and Ed Walters Collaborate on Courtroom5 and Fastcase to Help Pro Se Litigants Access Justice