Community.lawyer is a public benefit corporation that builds technology to help networks of lawyers meet the legal needs of their community. We offer software free of charge to bar associations and other nonprofit legal networks so that they can operate their own branded referral services or find-a-lawyer directories.
The software is a flexible solution, designed to suit a diverse array of nonprofit legal networks. It’s modular enough to be integrated with existing database solutions but also robust enough to work as a standalone platform for conducting intake, overseeing your service, and managing your network membership.
In the summer of 2016, our team received fellowships from the Robin Hood Foundation’s Blue Ridge Labs to study ways technology could be used to bridge the access to justice gap. After months of immersive design research, including conversations with hundreds of stakeholders across the legal industry, we decided to found Community.lawyer to help empower nonprofit legal networks.
In October of 2016, we launched a pilot of our software in partnership with the Court Square Law Project, a modest means law firm sponsored by the New York City Bar Association. With the help of additional grant funding from Blue Ridge Labs, Community.lawyer continued to hone our technology and, in early 2017, began offering it free of charge to bar associations and legal incubators across the country.
We understand that each lawyer network has its own unique constellations of needs and goals. For that reason, our software supports a range of different customizations. For example, Community.lawyer offers custom features for our partners to collect remittance fees, experiment with alternative service delivery models, and integrate a modest means program into their work.
Yes. We never charge fees for the use of our basic referral and directory technologies for two important reasons. First, as a mission-driven public benefit corporation, we believe strongly in offering trusted nonprofits like bar associations and legal incubators a free way to support their members and serve their communities. Second, since ethics committees have cautioned that a company risks improper fee splitting when its revenues are based on the percentage of legal fees facilitated or clients obtained, we made the decision to avoid that gray zone altogether.
Like many technology companies, we have built our business around a core service that we offer free of charge — and then we are supplementing it over time with optional features that our users can choose to pay for (e.g. unique portal customizations).
As the creator of these optional tools and services, we sometimes charge for their use; however, we are committed to keeping our underlying referral and directory service technologies free, now and forever. That’s our promise.