I’ve compiled a public database of Justice Tech startups — I hope it’s a useful resource to build community, transparency, and scale access to justice.
Over the last few years, the legaltech market has blossomed. It’s seen both a meteoric rise in the number of legal tech startups, as well as VC funding of those startups, culminating in over $1B of investment in late 2020. This influx is terrific for modernizing the legal services industry, but sadly hasn’t moved the needle to serve the 5.1 billion people globally who lack access to justice.
Rather than waiting for legaltech to trickle down to low-income individuals, a small (but growing) cohort of entrepreneurs are founding technology startups to tackle the justice gap head-on. These solutions are a new breed of legaltech — instead of focusing on modernizing the existing legal services market (i.e. contracts, practice management, legal research, etc.), their goal is to leverage technology to directly scale legal services to the billions of people underserved by the existing market.
Until now, this unique market segment has been nebulous and inchoate, but thanks to the work of a critical mass of stakeholders and the momentum spurred by the racial justice movement, that’s changing.
Starting with coining the umbrella term “Justice Tech,” we’re developing a common language, a community of folks working in the space, and formalizing the newly-minted Justice Tech market.
As an early Justice Tech founder (Paladin, pro bono platform), my goal is to contribute to the Justice Tech ecosystem and increase the visibility of other terrific folks building solutions in the space. As a starting resource, I’ve compiled a database of Justice Tech startups. This list includes US-based technology startups (both for and non-profit) with a product in the market, whose primary focus is to improve access to justice for low-income individuals. Although there is an argument for including consumer legal startups, I’ve only included solutions that straddle A2J (like pro se tools or low-cost legal services) where they explicitly prioritize access to justice for low-income folks as part of their mission (here’s a great list of broader consumer tech apps by Rebecca Sandefur). This database does not include mature organizations more than 10 years old, technology projects housed within a broader organization, research-based organizations (see here for a terrific list of criminal justice projects and research orgs by Jason Tashea), justice tech incubators, custom development shops, civic/gov tech, funders, or other initiatives.
This database is a work in progress, and I greatly appreciate your input to improve it. To suggest a missing organization or any edits/corrections, please reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope this list encourages collaborations, offers to help or highlight these startups’ work, or more generally raises visibility.
At Paladin, we know the justice gap is too vast and complex for any one organization to solve it alone — so by cross-pollinating, collaborating, and building community in Justice Tech, our hope is to work together to tip the scales toward justice. If you have ideas to make this a reality, please don’t hesitate to reach out!