2017 seemed to be the ‘Year of the Woman’ in legal tech. With noteworthy exits, exciting new pursuits, and increasing female leadership, there appears to be a positive momentum in the changing face of legal entrepreneurship.
However, within tech, only 3% of venture capital is invested in female founders, and less than 1% in Black/Latinx entrepreneurs. In an industry pushing to increase diversity in its ranks, as well as address changing consumer demographics, we are losing out on building scalable, impactful legal tech companies due to this funding gap.
Luckily, law provides a number of touchpoints where we can engage and support entrepreneurs to identify and solve problems that have long gone unnoticed– especially around access to justice. From innovative law school classes to legal tech incubators, the industry is now in a position to change the face of the profession and solve critical problems that only diverse entrepreneurs are equipped to solve.
Kristen Sonday is the co-founder and COO of Paladin. She is a Fellow for Stanford’s Latino Entrepreneur Leaders Program and a Google for Entrepreneurs Code2040 Entrepreneur-in-Residence at 1871, with the goal of promoting and supporting black and Latinx entrepreneurs.
Passionate about increasing access to justice, Kristen works with Fortune 500 companies, law firms, law schools, and bar associations to staff, manage, and track pro bono work and visualize the organization’s impact. Before starting Paladin, Kristen worked on international criminal matters for the U.S. Department of Justice and served on the founding team of Grouper, a New York City-based tech start-up. Kristen is a rising star in the legal community. In 2017, she was named one of the ABA’s Women in Legal Tech to Watch, an ABA Journal “Legal Rebel”, and a FastCase50 honoree.