IT and access to justice: where are the startups?

March 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm 1 comment

Startups are usually defined as ICT or biotech companies which quickly scale up to reach global markets. Apple in the 80s, Google in the 90s and Facebook in the 00s are famous (and sustainable) examples of startups. An insightful and well written blog post asks Where are the access to justice startups? Indeed, theoretically they have markets of billions of people but we do not know of hugely successful innovative companies that use ICTs to provide access to justice.

The post mentions several of these companies: Tabulaw, Attorneyfee, LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer. Interesting approaches but hardly a huge wave of entrepreneurism in the intersection between law and technologies. Christina Farr, author of the post, ponders over the reasons for such a meager supply:
– high entry and startup costs;
– lack of convincing business models which can convince venture capitalists to join;
– protective reaction from the private Bar.

I think we can discuss a couple more reasons that inhibit the growth of innovative access to justice solutions:
– we still know relatively little about the legal needs of people;
– related to the previous point, not much is known about the legal problems that small and medium enterprises face;
– our knowledge about dispute resolution is mostly limited to the real world; we know little about the ways in which people solve disputes online. Also research of phenomena such as crowd-sourcing and data mining of legal texts is in its embryonic stage.

Read Meet the startups that are giving everyone affordable access to justice


Entry filed under: Access to Justice.

Access to justice jobs: Internship on the Case Against Hissène Habré Access to justice jobs: SUYI Citizenship Project Coordinator

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