Having a lawyer is essential, but who can manage pricey legal costs? Black Enterprise overtook James Jones Jr., Esq. and Kristina Jones, the creators of Court Buddy, to understand how everybody can now have access to legal guidance through their lawyer on-demand platform.
Black Enterprise: Tell me about you and your co-founder’s backgrounds.
James Jones Jr.: I practiced law for 10 years and am a member in excellent standing with the Florida Bar and a 2017 SuperLawyers [Increasing Star], which is an acknowledgment that just 2.5% of legal representatives get. I have represented numerous people and organizations, consisting of Fortune 500 business such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Court Buddy co-founder Kristina Jones invested years developing acclaimed marketing and advertising projects for Fortune 500 business such as Walmart, Sea World, and Disney and produced over $30 million in sales for company customers.
BE: What triggered you to start a legal service company?
JJ: As a lawyer regularly appearing in court, I invested years seeing firsthand the disappointment that judges had with people who were appearing in court without a lawyer, but who plainly required help and assistance with their cases. After meeting and talking with numerous people of all backgrounds at court houses, I found that people required lawyers, but might not pay for high per hour costs and retainers or might not find them and were, for that reason, managing their court looks themselves, which typically ended up being a bad choice with deadly repercussions to their case.
On the other hand, when I initially opened my own solo practice, I had no idea about the best ways to get customers. I did exactly what I believed made one of the most sense: I began going to lunch with other lawyers. I began with associates who went to law school with me. I asked exactly what they did, and I recognized it was a thinking game– even they didn’t know, and they had been out by themselves for a few years. They were aiming to figure it out, too.
In law school, we weren’t taught the business of law or ways to market our services. We were taught ways to get a job and work at a law practice.
Kristina highly thought that innovation might fix these 2 huge issues. She began thinking of a platform where possible customers with a lawsuit can find lawyers whenever they want, based on their budget plan and needs, and where lawyers can market their practice, get customers, and produce earnings to cover their overhead without investing a great deal of money.
We pooled all our resources together, purchased in excellent designers and engineers, worked our butts off, and Court Buddy was born.
BE: How does Court Buddy work?
JJ: Court Buddy utilizes patent-pending immediate matching innovation, which includes exclusive algorithms that match customers with lawyers, particularly for à-la-carte legal services, at flat rates for litigation/court-related matters.
The immediate matching innovation user interfaces with slider performance, which enables customers to effortlessly choose their court area, language, court date, case type and à-la-carte legal service required, and the flat rate that the customer can spend for the chosen legal service.
Lawyers effortlessly choose their practice locations, court areas, scheduled to take court cases, the legal services that they can offer to customers and the pre-negotiated flat rates that they will accept as payment from customers.
As soon as matched, customers can immediate message, video chat, and quickly make protected payments to lawyers for the legal services that they need for their lawsuit.
BE: What makes you different from other business like LegalShield?
JJ.: Court Buddy’s instantaneous matching innovation, in fact, matches customers with lawyers for à-la-carte legal services for court looks and court-related matters with clear, in advance, haggle-free flat rates that both customers and lawyers pick. There isn’t really a bidding procedure or an invite for lawyers to send cost quotes like many another business share. Furthermore, customers do not pre-pay for legal services just to discover later that they can pass by the lawyer that they wish to deal with and do not have a say in the legal charges that the lawyer charges, which holds true with pre-paid legal business.
Court Buddy’s instantaneous matching innovation is the company’s essential differentiator from other legal company and is the very first of its kind in the whole legal market to offer court-related, flat rate à-la-carte legal services. The innovation has won many awards consisting of the 2017 American Bar Association’s Brown Select Award for Legal Access and the American Entrepreneurship Award, which is sponsored by President Obama and Shark Tank’s Daymond John.
BE: How much traction are you seeing? What cities are you situated in?
JJ: Court Buddy introduced its app and management system in mid-2016 and created over $200,000 in earnings in less than 10 months.
There are 7,000 lawyers that are currently on the platform and over 10,000 matches have been made in between lawyers and customer users to this day, with another 10,000+ lawyers who have asked for to be vetted and on-boarded. Court Buddy remains in 36 states and will remain in the staying 14 by the end of 2017.
BE: You simply ended up 500 Startups, among the most distinguished accelerators in tech? How did you find it useful to your company?
JJ: To make a food example, it resembles being at a buffet where you get to select exactly what you wish to consume. 500 Startups supplies a buffet of marketing, selling, fast scaling, and finest practices from market leaders from business such as Google and PayPal. You just select exactly what you want based on your company’s needs. You learn ways to grow your business in 4 months. And you get well-off and deeply linked preliminary financier in your company and access to a worldwide network of other financiers and business owners, which is the icing on the cake.
500 Startups has likewise been helpful from a fundraising perspective. Kristina pitched Court Buddy at 500 Startups Demo Day last month, which drew the attention of numerous financiers in presence, consisting of LDR Ventures. LDR Ventures is now the lead financier in our newest fundraising round. LDR Ventures has devoted 70% of its portfolio to varied, minority-led, or women-led start-ups. Their collaboration has been fantastic for Court Buddy. 500 Startups supplied the intro to make the collaboration possible.