Our Academic Inspiration

By Jonathan Petts

Our work at Upsolve is inspired by the Financial Distress Research Project (FRDP), a landmark project designed and led by our three advisers: Professor Jim Greiner of Harvard Law School, Professor Dalie Jimenez of the UConn Law School, and Professor Lois Lupica of the University of Maine School of Law.

In 2012, the professors realized that something was wrong with legal self-help. Virtually all self-help materials failed to address the psychological and cognitive barriers that prevent low-income individuals from using them. So the professors began to design their own legal self-help materials with cartoon characters, affirmations, and plain language. And they began evaluating the effectiveness of their materials through randomized-control trials. So began the FDRP.

Upsolve is a nonprofit startup that aims to scale the FDRP’s self-help materials using technology. We’ve created our first online product to expand access to Chapter 7 bankruptcy for those who can’t afford a lawyer. We want to make filing for Chapter 7 simple, fast and free, wherever possible.