Welcome to our new Director of Product Design, Sarah Williams!
Sarah, we’re thrilled to have you on board! Tell us about your background.
In the beginning of my career I worked at a number of startups and design agencies, developing interpersonal skills as a consultant, with clientele across e-commerce, healthcare, and finance industries. In these environments, I gained a breadth of knowledge in product strategy, design research, and user experience, and learned how to apply design thinking across a variety of contexts. I took this knowledge into a corporate environment, at Verizon, where I helped contribute to its growing design culture and promoted human-centered-design practices to create innovative solutions for consumers, employees, and society.
I believe that design is a set of tools and techniques for problem solving and once you have a strong comprehension of how to apply those tools, you can use it to solve problems of any shape, size, or complexity.
What drew you to Paladin?
I really loved the idea of working with a smaller group of people whose motivations were centered around action and change, and Paladin’s approach and mission reflects that. The passion and excitement that each team member has is contagious and makes you really want to roll up your sleeves, put your heads together, and work hard to improve the access and quality of legal services.
Why is access to justice important to you?
Access to justice is a civil rights issue, so it is something that affects us all. I have recognized the huge injustices and barriers that are presented across the entire social justice system, whether it is education around the process or access to resources and support. The learning curve is steep, and is embedded within outdated structures.
On a professional level, I believe there are unlimited possibilities in improving these systems for people and I am excited to participate in creating solutions with Paladin. On a personal level, I experienced, first hand, how quickly things can change when a family member of mine was unexpectedly arrested and unjustly sentenced. It really uncovered a lot of challenges that people experience every day, and how insurmountable the knowledge gap, financial burden, and emotional toll can be.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for Paladin’s products and technology?
The biggest opportunity is in the connection point; connecting those who need legal representation and the lawyers who can supply it. This is where the magic is. But, this also means that both audiences are present in the same space. For this to be true, there are other opportunities for Paladin centered primarily around the public or those seeking counsel to show up where they are and guide them towards the options that are available to them. This is probably the hardest audience to tap into, but is where a large amount of impact lies.
Desert island: one album, one book, one movie.
Album: The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness
Book: I’m going to go with an anthology, 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories
Movie: I feel like I’ll want something lighthearted and silly, so I’ll say Dodgeball.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
I am so excited to open my sphere of thinking from a traditional product to consumer mindset, into a service to community mindset. Paladin has an amazing team of people, and I am looking forward to working with them to define the intersections between what legal organizations, and communities need and are motivated by in order to create solutions that work for all.
Which GIF best represents how you feel about building justice tech?