If you've worked in a traditional law firm, you know that the positions are pretty much default. Managing Partners, Partners, Senior Associates, Associates, and Paralegals are the usual positions you will find in a law firm. However, a new generation of entrepreneurial attorneys is on the rise. This new breed of attorneys is leveraging the power of technology and entrepreneurship to provide affordable legal solutions.
Justice entrepreneurship uses the principles of entrepreneurship to develop disruptive and sustainable solutions that improve access to justice. We are entering into an exciting new era in which the legal industry is being revitalized with the passion and drive of justice entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurial attorneys are starting to offer solutions such as legal documents for fixed fees, flexible representation options, and other innovative legal tech solutions. However, becoming a justice entrepreneur is no small feat. Entrepreneurs who decide to launch their own legal solutions must wear many hats such as digital marketer, head of public relations, project manager, and accountant. However, there is much excitement that comes with becoming an entrepreneurial lawyer who wants to ensure access to justice. Anyone that wants to innovate while solving problems related to access to justice can become a justice entrepreneur.
Justice entrepreneurs are becoming critical contributors to solve problems related to access to justice. Their leadership, management, innovation, job creation, and competitiveness will bring a new era to the legal industry.
Even if we are experiencing an entrepreneurial explosion in the legal industry, there is no secret formula or recipe to become a justice entrepreneur. However, at A2J Tech, we've noticed that justice entrepreneurs have the following traits.
- Clarity of vision. A justice entrepreneur has to ability to communicate their vision, goals, and objectives. Just as importantly, justice entrepreneurs are clear about who they are and what their project stands for. Only by sharing their vision, a justice entrepreneur can bring collaborators that believe in the same solution.
- Commitment and conviction. In addition to the clarity of vision, a justice entrepreneur is passionate about their project, motivating their collaborators to do their best work. If a justice entrepreneur doesn't believe in the project or solution, it's likely to fail. However, what differentiates a justice entrepreneur is the commitment to provide access to justice and use the law to enrich the lives of its prospective users.
- Entrepreneurial leadership. Entrepreneurial leadership is a fusion between entrepreneurship and leadership. As an entrepreneur, you will need to learn how to initiate a business venture, allocate resources, and learn how to make a solution financially sustainable. However, leadership requires a strategic vision that impacts the organization's culture, system, and processes.
- Open to new ideas. A justice entrepreneur spends the time and resources on new ideas while encouraging their collaborators to find better, easier, and bigger solutions. In other words, a justice entrepreneur lets other people pursue their creative ideas. Besides, justice entrepreneurs can learn and apply new skills in high-need areas of law and inspire trust in their users.
- Self-discipline and reliability. A justice entrepreneur is positive and confident, even under pressure. Justice entrepreneurs understand that they are not perfect. However, a justice entrepreneur accepts responsibility for all actions and doesn't accept excuses.
- Jack of all trades. Robert A. Heinlein used to say: "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly." In the beginning, justice entrepreneurs will need to use different skills. For instance, justice entrepreneurs will need to take on marketing, customer support, finance, client acquisition, billing, and well, almost everything. However, don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. This will show you how to become a better leader.
As attorneys, we are not taught to become entrepreneurial. The good news is that all of these traits are learnable. The success of a justice entrepreneur is not about great presentations or having great ideas. Justice entrepreneurship is about leadership, understanding your prospective users' needs, and communicating your solutions with clarity.
The World Justice Project estimated that 5 billion people have unmet justice needs globally, including people who cannot obtain justice for everyday problems. In the case of the U.S., it has been reported that 86 % of civil legal issues reported by low-income Americans have received inadequate or no legal help.
Justice entrepreneurs that value fairness, equality, and justice will shape the future of the legal industry. Access to justice is a traditional and central moral criterion in society. However, in most countries, we are not ensuring that moral standard. That's why we need a new breed of justice entrepreneurs that are on a mission to fight inequality and injustice.