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Mark Cuban-backed Paladin helps lawyers find pro-bono work



Kristen Sonday, cofounder and chief operating officer of Paladin, talking at Business Insider's IGNITION conference on Monday, December 3, 2018.
Sonday, cofounder and chief operating officer of Paladin, which
has developed a service to pair lawyers seeking pro-bono work
with those in need of legal aid.

S. Lee/Business Insider

  • One of Mark Cuban’s latest investments is in Paladin, a
    startup in the legal technology area, a company he and its
    founders touted at Business Insider’s IGNITION
    conference on Monday.
  • Paladin‘s
    service is designed to pair up lawyers looking to fulfill their
    pro-bono obligations with those who can’t afford legal aid.
  • The company’s founders argue that Paladin is in the right
    place at the right time — those in need are facing a growing
    number of legal crises, while there’s a growing focus on the
    social consciousness of attorneys and firms.


Mark Cuban made a name for himself and made lots of money
entertaining people, whether through his ownership of the Dallas
Mavericks basketball team or as the host of the show “Shark

Now the billionaire businessman is hoping to use some of his
wealth to help those far less fortunate than him. 

is backing a company called Paladin
that has designed a
system designed to pair up lawyers wanting to fulfill their
obligations to do pro-bono work with those who need but can’t
afford legal services. On Monday, he joined Paladin founders
Felicity Conrad and Kristen Sonday at Business Insider’s IGNITION
conference to explain and tout the new service.

“I’m looking for companies that have an impact,” Cuban said. He
continued: “What Paladin is doing is important.”

The American Bar Association, the professional association for
lawyers, recommends that attorneys provide at least 50 hours of
work for free each year to non-profit groups or to people unable
to afford a lawyer. Many lawyers don’t meet that goal. Meanwhile,
Paladin estimates that some 86% of the people who need legal
services don’t get it because they can’t afford a lawyer. 

Paladin attempts to match up the two sides. It works with law
firms, law schools, and corporate legal departments that are
looking for pro-bono work for their attorneys and pairs them up
with legal-aid organizations that help those in need. 

Read this:

IGNITION 2018: Hear from billionaire investor Mark Cuban and 2
cofounders who scored a deal with him

Paladin may be in the right place at the right time

The three think they are founded Paladin at just the right time.
There have been a growing number of legal-access crises in recent
years, most notably those faced by immigrants due to the policies
of the Trump administration, they noted. So there’s a growing
need for legal aid among those who can least afford it, they say.

Mark Cuban speaking at Business Insider's IGNITION conference on December 3, 2018.
Mark Cuban said he invested in Paladin, because he was
looking for companies that would have an positive impact on

Jin S. Lee/Business

At the same time, social consciousness is becoming ever more
important in American culture and business, they said. Recent law
school graduates want to know what kind of pro-bono work is being
done by the firms they’re considering joining, Cuban said. Tech
and other companies are similarly going to be scrutinizing the
pro-bono work of the firms they hire, he said. 

“It’s going become part of the criteria for selecting a law
firm,” he said. 

That Conrad and Sonday are the founders of Paladin is unusual not
just for the tech industry in general, but for the legal
technology sector in particular. Even today, women founders
represent a small portion of all startup teams and get only
a small fraction of the funding of their male counterparts.

But women and people of color are needed for companies in this
sector, Sonday argued. Women and people of color are much more
likely to be in the group that Paladin is seeking to help than
white males. To be able to help them, it needs to have people who
can empathize with their plight, she said.

“I think it’s really important that the people building these
solutions are the ones that are closest to the problem,” she

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