Anjana [00:03:58] Jennifer, we are so, so excited to have you on the pod today. We were talking to Maxine a couple of weeks ago and she mentioned LawChamps and we were like, wait, that sounds like a genius idea and also the perfect podcast. So we’re super excited to have you on.
Jennifer [00:04:14] Well, thank you so much for having me.
Anjana [00:04:18] Yeah, we would love to know, just to get started, like what got you into law. And I know you went to Berkeley and then Stanford. Where was your career trajectory going from there?
Jennifer [00:04:30] Sure. So a lot of us go to law school because we are bright overachievers with a sort of humanities liberal arts background and we know we want a professional career, but we’re not exactly sure what to do with ourselves. And we find ourselves in ultimately ending up in law school. And a lot of law students end up practicing law and a good number of folks don’t. I sort of fell into that demographic. I mean, I studied political science, history and English at Berkeley. I loved my time there, but I actually was one of those people who always thought I might go to law school and I’d say I’m drawn to the law because it really is the organizing principle by which we as a society have agreed that we’re going to interact with each other. And so it just has far reaching consequences. And I find law as policy very interesting. And so that is why this ultimately decided to go to law schoo. I turned traitor. I went from Cal to Stanford.
Epsa [00:05:37] I was going to mention, was that an internal debate within yourself, OK, like go bears, I guess.
Anjana [00:05:45] but also go Trees!
Jennifer [00:05:47] You can absolutely call me out on that. A lot of people do. And it’s at it’s a fair point. I always knew I wanted to practice in the Bay Area though. And so I decided that it would be the right, ultimately while it was hard to move across the bay. I decided to stay in the Bay Area for law school is the way to go for me. And I met amazing friends at Stanford and I actually even met my wife at Stanford as well. So I’m very grateful for my time at Stanford. But if you were to ask me who I root for in the big game, I root for Cal. It’s Go Bears all the way.
Anjana [00:06:27] Might lose a couple of followers for that.
Jennifer [00:06:29] They also gave me a fellowship to study public policy at Stanford, and that was the disciplinary opportunity and a way to not just be in the law school, but to get out into the graduate school community’s broader, even a broader space. So I took advantage of that and enjoyed it. So I had the typical education that would have set me up for your traditional big law job. And I know in the past when the three of us have talked, we’ve talked a little bit about what do you do? Do you take the traditional path? Do you take the nontraditional path? And I took the traditional path. I practiced in a big international litigation firm for several years, and I actually really enjoyed my time there. And it was great training for me. And I have lifelong friends from that experience, people I still go to Yosemite with every year for summer vacation. It was a great it was a great experience. But I would say if you do follow a professional path, there are certain tracks that you can get on and you can get pushed from one box to the next box because it’s the next logical thing to do. It’s kind of the check the resume move. And I think that it it behooves everyone, since I know your listeners are mostly college students who might be thinking of professional school or recent grads, I will say that it’s worth giving some thought to sort of what would your life Plan B be like even if you are finding yourself going from one box to the next? And for me, my alternate path was always, how am I going to give back? How am I going to make a difference? How am I going to use the law as a tool to help people? And so that’s ultimately why I made the shift from private practice to running our tech company, where we’re using tech as a tool to get legal services into the hands of everyday people. And it was a bit of a risky move, right, to give up a private practice and jump in and form a startup. But it was where my heart was at. And my advice, if people were to ask me, is always think about not just the salary that you’re making and not just how prestigious your next career opportunity is, but also think about what makes you happy and how do you want to spend your time because your time is valuable to you. It’s your life and you get one life, it’s your career and you get one career. And so think about some of those things. There’s opportunity costs and you can always think about what would you be wanting to do if you could do it and how do you leverage yourself one step closer to that when you plan out your career. And that’s ultimately what I did. I I worked with a lot of startup companies as sort of an outside general counsel. So then when the startup opportunity came my way, I was positioned to take a chance and make a move.
Epsa [00:09:38] Wow. Well, that’s really interesting. Yeah. I feel like you’ve dropped a lot of wisdom there. I think what you were explaining was, I think something that I’m slowly starting to realize, like I think in college you are really focused on, OK, college defines like success, like what is the most high profile company? Make sure you’re getting this amount of salary. I think what you’re what you just explained is like you need to re evaluate success for yourself. So what specific moment did you realize that? And how did you kind of navigate into the startup path? Because I feel like some people just fall into it. But I’m curious, like, how did you realize that moment and then how did you navigate into the startup world?
Anjana [00:10:21] Or like was there like a breaking point while you were in private practice where you were like yeah, I can’t do this anymore.
Jennifer [00:10:27] Breaking point no, there was no breaking point. I mean, there are a lot of telltale moments along the way. When I was in law school, actually, we took a class that was like a conflict and mediation class and they asked to undertake a personality profile. And I was the only law student in the room that came back with collaborative personality type. And I thought, oh, well, that’s going to be my greatest strength and my greatest weakness.
Anjana [00:10:56] What did everyone else have?
Jennifer [00:10:58] There are much more independent and extroverted and kind of take charge type A. Not someone necessarily going to look to what someone else wants and then build on it, but rather someone who’s going to say, I think this is right and this is what we’re doing. So I fell into a slightly different personality type and I thought, well, that’s going to be my greatest strength of my greatest weakness. Right. And it and it proved to be true so that I always knew I had to navigate that. And that was something that I thought was a moment for me. There are a lot of telltale moments for me. I know when I was ultimately deciding to go in house, you know, I had the opportunity to join a much more established company of big Silicon Valley company, the name that everyone would know, and to basically come in as the assistant general counsel. And then ultimately, of course, it would have been setting me up to become the general counsel of that company. But they didn’t have a mission that I believed in. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with what the company is doing. The company’s a very successful, interesting company. And there were some interesting legal issues about building the company that would have been intellectually challenging. But it wasn’t it didn’t have that social mission that our company has. And I remember talking to my wife and she just said, you know, I can tell you your heart isn’t in it. You know, you need to build this thing. You need to do this thing. And we can take a chance. We’re in a place where we can let you do it. So go do it. And I’ll tell you, just this isn’t the way I lived my life. For better or for worse, we bought the house in San Francisco and we’re paying the mortgage and we’re raising the son. But I will tell you a piece of advice that another young lawyer gave on a panel that I was on last week where we were talking to law students about how to think about their early careers and should they go to the big name firm just like your point, Epsa about like should you go to the big name company. And she said, I did go to the big name firm to get my training and I was making way too much money right out of law school, which was great because I could pay off my loans. But what I did is I decided to only live on a third of my salary. So that way, I was setting myself up to be able to make a change when I wanted to make a change and live and leave my big, high paying, high profile, big firm job so that I had my options open when I wanted to start my own company, which is ultimately what she wanted to do. So she had paid off her loans and she had saved enough money that she could make a change. And I did not do that. I started my company at the age of like 45. So but I think that that’s really commendable that she was thinking that way. And I think that’s sort of what I mean when I, it wasn’t so much an aha moment. It was a follow your heart moment. But I think that people can plan to set themselves up to have flexibility and then they when the opportunity comes their way, hopefully they’re in a position where they can follow their heart.
Anjana [00:14:25] Wow that rule is so genius.
Jennifer [00:14:28] It’s a genius rule. I wish I could go back in time and follow that.
Anjana [00:14:33] And obviously there are so many paths you can take within law, right? Corporate, social justice. How did you know that more social justice law is what you wanted to go into?
Jennifer [00:14:45] Well, so I started out in litigation as a litigator. You see, you go into court all the time, and if you’re a corporate litigator, you’re well paid and you have resources to litigate your case. And usually the other side is also represented by lawyers who have resources. And, you know, it’s very professional and everything’s always argued to the nth degree and but kept very professional and everything is thoroughly investigated and presented. But you’re usually in court sitting behind five people who are in court on their own that day. And this is especially true if you go into state court as opposed to federal court and you watch these people who basically go into court and just get creamed and and they get creamed, not because they don’t have a compelling factual situation or because, you know, justice might be on their side, but because they don’t know the rules, they don’t have a lawyer there to help them out. And the judge will always do their best by the people in their courtroom. But it’s not the judge’s job to explain the procedural rules to people or to bend them. So the best thing a judge can do for you to be helpful if you show up in court on your own is basically explain things to you and then bump your hearing over for another day. That’s a judge who’s trying to help you out. And so you just watch people lose all the time. And once you’re a litigator, you know, I always call it the cocktail napkin phenomenon. Like, if I would go out to dinner or I would go to a piano bar with my dad because my dad happened to be an Irish tenor who sang in piano bars. Once the word would get out that I was a lawyer, I would like accrue these cocktail napkins. People would just be throwing their names and numbers at me, asking me for help with everyday issues. And I could not help everyone. I couldn’t possibly. And when I was at a big law firm, I couldn’t even take them on as clients because the law firm structure was such that they would have had to have a huge amount of money to hire me on. And it was just it’s a social injustice. It is an issue in our society. It’s a larger issue than just me anecdotally observing people getting creamed in court. Right. If the idea in our society is that justice is blind, well, then justice has to be administered based on who has the more compelling factual case, not based on who understands procedural rules or who happens to have a lawyer who can walk into court with them that day. And so it’s a real problem. And I watched it happen enough. And you care enough that then it’s a problem you want to work on. And so that was kind of it started in my earliest days as a litigation attorney, observing the need of everyday people to have lawyers. And then and I always explain to people that our company is like the solution to the stacks of cocktail napkins. I mean, that’s fundamentally what we’re trying to do, is we’re trying to let everyday people, entrepreneurs, small business owners get a lawyer for an hour or two so that you understand the basics and you can have someone on your side. So that’s that. It started in my earliest days. I had a long and winding path. I had to become an IP lawyer. I had to get enough experience understanding the business side of things and helping startups before I could feel competent to jump in and form one myself. But the problem that we were trying to fix, I saw from the very beginning.
Epsa [00:18:23] Yeah, it makes sense of now you’re kind of in this position, all spawned from the cocktail napkin phenomenon. So you’re in this mission, you’re at Law champs. Can you explain, so you had your experience that you needed to be where you’re at. But once you had enough experience and this is something I still want to pursue. How did you go towards confounding something as big as, something that’s explained on the website as Match.com for law, which I think is a really great comparison,. But I’m just trying to wrap my head around, like, obviously this is a great resource. And even hearing what you said, like people will go into the court and not know the basic terminologies, which your website has clearly explained. But yeah, what were like the first steps to creating Law champs and what is like the core of the mission as of right now?
Jennifer [00:19:17] Well, the first steps are to when you’re starting a company are there’s a lot of things to do. But one of the main things is to figure out what the problem is that you want to fix and then figure out what you think the solution is to the problem, build that and then see if you’re right. You know, if you’re right, if other people do flood in and you actually are solving for their problem really high level, that’s what you do when you’re starting a company. But I guess I’d say a little more pragmatically, I suspect you two already kind of know the answer to this question, because what you do is you find someone or two people who you feel comfortable working with, who balance you out, who bring different skills to the table. And if you have good chemistry and you can you know, you have business synergy there, so you balance each other out and then hopefully you have enough chemistry and you build trust over time because it’s not a nine to five job. Right. It’s a whole jumping in with both feet lifestyle issue. And so I don’t know with COVID for this to be a thing to say, but like you’re basically sleeping at each other’s houses. You’re like bootstrapping things along as you go, you know? And so you need to surround yourself with people who you like and also people complementary to you. I suspect the two of you, you know, to turn the tables back around and ask you, like, how did you find each other? How did you decide to get this podcast off the ground right away? It’s probably a somewhat similar story.
Anjana [00:20:57] Very interesting, because Epsa and I are very much alike. But you and your co-founder, Mike Muse, is like I feel like you both come from very different industries.
Jennifer [00:21:08] But so this is true Mike and I are not alike on paper. I mean, he is a very charming TV correspondent, a policy analyst, black man who grew up in Lansing, Michigan, and went to the University of Michigan. I am your typical white woman who came out of Silicon Valley. Every once in a while, he’ll tell me that he forgets, you know, that I’m just I’m an upper middle class, privileged white woman. Biggest compliment he could possibly give me because it means he feels comfortable talking to me. We’re very different in terms of our backgrounds, but we’re not different in really, really key ways when you scratch a little bit below the surface. Right. So we’re both huge policy nerds. We both care like so, so deeply about social justice issues. We’re both the kinds of people who cried during the Biden swearing in campaign, like, you know, and there was no work that was going to get done that day. Right. And so there are there are a lot of things that we when it comes to our value is that in our interests that we are absolutely aligned on. And that comes together in the mission of our company, which is to help people who traditionally either don’t get help because they don’t know lawyers, or they don’t get help because systemically the communities that they grew up in are such that they would not innately trust the law or trust the legal system or lawyers , and to try to be in and of the communities and spaces of the customers that we’re serving to try to do our part to change that. And we understand that and care about that mission. So that’s how we came together. How did you two find each other?
Epsa [00:23:14] Well, OK, so this is a funny story. So Anj and I, I feel like we were both fairly involved within like Cal Poly in the College of Business. But I wouldn’t say we were like friends literally until last March. Last March, we went to dinner with one of our mutual friends and then it happened, and we just went home. So we still weren’t like best friends or anything. And then we just like started texting out of the blue. And then we both knew we wanted to do like a side project passion thing, aside from corporate America the day to day. And then now I don’t go a day without texting her about the slightest inconvenience in my life. I’m like, hey this happened today. Also, here’s a funny tik tok also. How are you? Like, what have you been up to the last two hours?
Anjana [00:23:59] Funny how the pandemic does that to you. But yeah, we were both very involved in Women in Business at Cal Poly and like really care about female empowerment and also very aligned with our values. And this passion project with the podcast definitely came out of that value. And I’m curious because, you know, as Epsa and I continue to build out our team, we are always looking for people who bring something to the table that we don’t have, whether it’s like Instagram, anything like Reels or Tik Tok or whatever. When you were deciding to do this with Mike, what is it that he brought to the table that you didn’t have or vice versa?
Jennifer [00:24:34] So I run the legal the lawyer facing side of the business. So because our platform is a double sided platform. Right. We have customers who come to the platform looking for legal education or looking to find a lawyer. And we have lawyers who come to the platform, mostly solo and small firm attorneys who are used to working with individuals, families, entrepreneurs, small business owners as clients. And they’re there to build their client base and to develop their business. And so I run the attorney facing side of the business. I can help the attorneys build out their practices as businesses. So, for example, right now we have a website builder in beta because a lot of our attorneys are solo attorneys. And when you’re just starting out, only about half of solo attorneys have a website and you need to have a website because you two probably know your clients are on social media. I mean, that is how they’re looking for you. They’re looking for you and looking for information about you online. And so attorneys need to be in that space to build their practices. And I can put on my hat as an attorney and say, well, when I was running my own small firm, I had to build a website. And these are the things that I wanted to talk about, and these are the capacity capabilities I needed to have on that website. So I work with the product team to build that out. So that’s really me as an attorney, looking at myself as also customer. And I run that side of the business. I make sure we’re regulatory compliant with the state bar rules. I work with the bar associations and form partnerships, those kinds of things. But Mike, you know, he has a Sirius XM radio show. He regularly goes on ABC. He’s very trusted, super smart. He’s crazy smart, by the way, and he’s trusted. And so he will explain things like, well, Biden just signed an executive order. Well, let’s step back. What is an executive order? This is what it is. And what does this one mean? Well, this is what it means, and this is why it matters to you. You know, folks who are just listening to me as you’re driving in your car today, this is why it matters to you. And so he gets the word out about our company to consumers. He’s very good at that. And he will explain. I’m not just advocating for you, for example, as an entrepreneur, that from a community, a minority community, that you should have access to capital just like everybody else. I’m also sitting here telling you there’s a tool you can use. You can go to LawChamps, go to LawChamps. com, find a lawyer near you and that lawyer near you who is going to help you form your business. It’s going to set you up as an LLC. They’re going to protect your trade name. They’re going to get help. You build your brand. Like, I’m not just telling you that, you know, you should be doing these things. Now, there’s a tool that I can hand you, go do it.
Anjana [00:27:42] I don’t know why, but the way you said that, it reminded me of a Shane Co. commercial
Jennifer [00:27:48] Mike’s more compelling!
Epsa [00:27:51] Absolutely
Jennifer [00:27:52] Probably the key difference between Mike and I right? Wen I say it, I sound like a Shane Co Commercial. When Mike says it, everyone’s like “Go Mike!”
Epsa [00:28:04] And I’m super curious. I know you mentioned, like, obviously you have to have a good website, Instagram, just a social media presence and just online presence because pandemic with the digital age is just increasing. So between you, Mike and Drew, the other co-founder and CEO since the pandemic started, what have been the key areas of focus for you in terms of like getting LawChamps out there? Like what are you guys like mainly focusing on right now?
Jennifer [00:28:36] Um, well, there’s a lot there’s a lot of things we do. So Drew, by the way, brings tons of business savvy. So in the sense that, you know, I say I was a lawyer, I bring legal and operational experience to the table. Mike’s just you know, he’s wicked smart. He cares tons about policy and social justice. And he’s been a trusted advocate for a long time. So people trust him when he does develop tools that are going to change the world. Drew brings, you know, years and years of trusted business experience to the table. So he was involved with Steve Madden. He was involved with Guess, he was involved with Melissa and Doug’s toys. So he knows how to actually run a business, scale it, help it thrive. And so that’s the three different kinds of hats that we all wear and the backgrounds that we bring, but what we’ve what we do, what we did through the pandemic is like, you know, Drew focused on marketing. And sort of building out our platform in a way that was user friendly, I focused on getting the word out to attorneys, especially the younger attorneys who are going to be more media savvy and who are going to understand how to use a tech tool like a legal platform. And then Mike worked on building out partnerships and also getting the word out to consumers. So those are the three things that we focused on. It was interesting running a legal platform during the pandemic, though, because certainly certain kinds of legal inquiries dropped off and other kinds like really spiked.
Epsa [00:30:10] What did you see an increase in? I’m curious on that, too.
Jennifer [00:30:13] Well, landlord tenant law, I mean, yes, no surprise, right. That there is a huge spike in demand for people needing counseling around landlord tenant issues. I mean, even students. So, you know, you have a contract to pay your tuition and you also probably have a housing contract on your lease on an apartment. Right. And if the school pivots to teaching you virtually and remotely, well, arguably they’re honoring their contract. So you should still be paying your tuition and taking classes. As long as they’re giving you credit, we can discuss whether or not they’re really performing. But, you know, there was people obviously they are right. But what if you’ve been told you have to go home and and, you know, it’s not safe to be in the dorms? Well, then you shouldn’t be paying your housing contract. What if you have an off campus housing, you know, lease and technically your landlord will still give you the space, but the university has told you to go home. So what how do you navigate that? How do you how do you deal with those contractual issues? Everybody was having issues like that. And so we saw a big spike in inquiries for landlord tenant issues across the platform. Interestingly, we also saw a spike in requests for business services. And by that I mostly mean from entrepreneurs and small business owners. And that’s because I think, you know, with the downturn and with unemployment spiking, that’s obviously painful for our economy. But it’s also gives people an opportunity to jump in and take a chance and try to get their own ideas off the ground when maybe they would not have had the time to do that before, when it was always a small idea or a side hustle. Right. So we saw an increase in increase for that across the platform.
Anjana [00:32:13] We’ve been talking to a lot of entrepreneurs lately. So definitely been seeing that spike too especially with people our age. You know, something that you mentioned just now, but also in an earlier conversation is that like you don’t really know you need a lawyer until you need a lawyer, you know, like you get a DUI or something. And that’s when you’re like ah shoot, I should probably get a lawyer. But LawChamps on the website says it addresses the biggest challenges, challenges consumers face, which is fear, choice and trust. How exactly does it do that?
Jennifer [00:32:49] Well, fear, choice and trust. I mean, first of all, if you’re in a legal situation, sometimes you’re planning ahead. Like if you’re getting your business going and, you know, you need to incorporate or, you know, you need to look towards a lease or, you know, you need to look towards hiring your first employees, then you can plan ahead. And maybe it’s not as scary. Right? But oftentimes when you’re in a legal situation, it can be intimidating. It can be scary. You mentioned a DUI, obviously, that would make everybody’s heart stop. And yes, of course, you’re not going to know that you’re in that situation until you’re in it. And so it is a scary situation. And so what we try to do is we try to bring education and we also try to bring reassurance and access when we do it in a couple of ways. First of all, we vet all the attorneys on our platform. We have a verification process. So we make sure that they’re licensed, they’re in good standing, they have the expertise, they have the experience to help. And we feel confident that our algorithm makes the right match. But then we also, I think more than a lot of tech companies, we really, truly do see technology as a tool, not as the end. So we’re very hands on. We like to say we’re in the relationship business, not the technology business. So if say, for example, you were to find yourself in a situation where you had a DUI, it wouldn’t just be a situation where you’d write in online explaining what happened to you last night, explaining where you live and send this off into the ether and hope some lawyer would call you and help. You know, we come in. To be the trusted recommendation, to be the friend, to be the help, and so we will call you, we will make sure that you are who you say you are with that we understand your issue, that we understand where you are. You know, we have a lot of problems right now with COVID, where people are living with family members in one state and they’re in another state and they’re trying to work on a trust or a state plan or something like that. But we make sure we understand exactly who needs the help and where they are. So we find them the right attorney and then we’ll follow up. So while we’re certainly not a law firm and we’re not a legal services provider, we’re not ultimately going to be able to advise you. That’s going to be the attorney who advises you. We will not let the client just send an inquiry into the ether and then sit and wait and wonder. We make sure that they can talk to a real person and that they’re apprized throughout as to whether or not we found a potential attorney for them. So that’s how we build trust. And then if we do our job right, hopefully word will spread and we’ll become a trusted brand.
Anjana [00:35:44] How big has LawChamps gotten since you started?
Jennifer [00:35:48] It’s gotten it’s I mean, it’s spiking all the time. And one of the one of the I guess I what it’s hard to put it in perspective. The phones are ringing off the hook, which is a good thing. But I guess, I guess what I would say is this just a little sliver of insight into that is when we started the company, we really didn’t have much of a blog. Right. We had a little bit of a social media presence, but we didn’t really have a blog. We put a lot of effort into our blog because we see it as a legal resource. We sort of see it as our way of helping your everyday people who are going to be doing Google searches for certain kinds of legal information. They’re going to find our blog if we make it substantive and useful. It’s actually a big help to people. And so we see it as our way of giving back. But then it also draws people to our site and then they learn about us. And I guess what I would say is, you know, for every 100 readers we used to have at the beginning of the pandemic, now we have like 2000. So it’s been exponential growth. And that’s just blog traffic growth that I’m talking about. So I think it’s I think it’s a sign that there’s a real appetite out there. There’s a real need. And, you know, it’s our job to just scale and try to meet that need.
Epsa [00:37:16] Awesome, and I really like just the fact that you are in the relationship building industry, which I think this is exactly like to build trust, you obviously want to rely on other people versus like technology, which can make people wary. But if you like, trust someone that’s really just there to be comfortable and help you. That just makes what law is like a little intimidating and makes like less intimidating, like more approachable, which is cool to hear. It’s cool to hear like the traffic and everything grow. And also fun fact, fun story, actually. So, you know, I just moved to San Francisco and I’m like looking at other places at the end of my lease. And I was referencing in the glossary on your website just for like random terminologies that were in a bunch of contracts. And I was knee deep in Google and I was like, let’s just let’s just use what I was exposed to last week. And that was like, personally helpful.
Jennifer [00:38:10] So you were able to use some of our resources. You’re able to use our glossary to better understand.
Epsa [00:38:16] Yeah, I was able to actually use the glossary, which was really cool, very, very helpful to me. Jennifer, aside from me using the glossary and using LawChamps, are there any stories in particular that stand out to you, people that have used Law Champs? People that you’ve helped?
Jennifer [00:38:32] We see so many. We have so many stories, right. And they’re so important to people. I mean, they’re life determinative. Right? I mean, we’re literally talking about whether someone could spend their life in jail or not or whether or not a mother or father would see their children or not. I mean, these are hugely important stories, but the one that always stands out in my mind. So when COVID started and the economy started shutting down and people started working from home, the we had to set up a hotline because the calls to the platform were just spiking. And we set up a resources directory. And the glossary that you found was like one little small vestige of that. But we we also set up this hotline and we would take calls and my co-founders and I would man the calls. I mean, we had everyone in the company would take turns on the calls. But I as a lawyer was like, I need to take these calls and this woman called in and she was crying. She is a single mom and she was in a relatively small apartment and she was trying to do her job remotely. And she thought she had the situation kind of worked out with her landlord where they were going to do certain kinds of repairs and give her a rent reduction against the repairs. And instead they started building like they just started like tearing down the unit next to her. And it was really, really loud. And she couldn’t get her work done. And she was afraid she was going to lose her job if she couldn’t successfully work remotely. And so she went to the landlord and said, can you please, you know, keep the repairs down or do them between these hours and these hours? The property manager basically said no and in fact, you’re behind on your rent. And so you just you should move out and you should move out within like two weeks. Like “No, I had a credit,” and they were like, “It wasn’t in writing and you should move.” And I was like, that is not right. I was irate, and I and said, look, you know, I think you need a lawyer because if they’re treating you so poorly, one thing that a letter from a lawyer on lawfirm letterhead is going to show them, it’s that, you know your rights and you have someone who’s willing to stand up for you. And she’s like, I don’t have any money. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I can, you know, afford a lawyer. And I said, OK, here’s what you do. You go to our resources directory. There’s a sample letter on the site that is a request for rent reduction. You don’t need a rent reduction request. But let me talk you through how to rewrite this letter. Use the sample letter and this is what you say. And if then hand deliver it to them with a receipt. So you show that you delivered the letter. If they don’t get back to you and help you or they harass you again within seven days, then I want you to come back to our platform. I want you to call me. I want to find you a lawyer. And she said, oh, my goodness. OK, thank you. And like the relief in her voice, the feeling of relief that she just had a plan of action, you know, that she knew she was going to do this. And then if this didn’t help, she didn’t have to despair. She was going to do plan B and it was like a physical sigh that I heard and let go through her body. And I thought that is what lawyers do for people like good lawyers, like when it’s working, we can take the burden off. We can take the stress off a little bit. We can help share the load and we can, you know, at least let people feel that they’re not alone and feel that little bit of like that little bit of comfort. And that’s why we always tell people, like legal care is self care, like the same way that, you know, if you if your tooth hurts, just go to the dentist. You know, if you’re if you’re miserable and you have a fever, don’t shake in bed for three days. Like, go get you some soup. And it’s the same thing. Like don’t cry in your apartment with that level of stress that you’re afraid you’re going to lose your job and not be able to feed your kids. It’s worth an hour to consult with someone who’s going to share that load and help you, you know, give you a plan to take care of these things that just come up in life. They come up and, you know, we have stories that are probably the stakes were more dire. But I’ll never forget, like that feeling of just the relief she communicated to me and how good that made me feel that day. And, you know, that’s that’s what we’re trying to do.
Epsa [00:43:56] I know when you started your sigh of relief, when you were sharing a story, I got goosebumps.
Anjana [00:44:03] I think the story is a prime example of why Epsa and I were so, so excited about what you’re doing. Because when I think lawyers honestly, I think like Legally Blonde, but also just like, you know, it’s for the rich. And it’s people you don’t really like when you see it in movies and stuff. It’s all for the wealthy, like super wealthy people. And the people who really need lawyers are most often underprivileged single moms, especially during the quarantine. I feel for them so much. And so that story was very, very significant in that that’s exactly like why we were really excited about LawChamps and also the coverage it’s getting recently. I saw that you got a Forbes article a couple of weeks ago. So congratulations.
Epsa [00:44:46] Yeah. How are you feeling? Like this is something you’ve been passionate about from the start and now you’re feeling like you’re feeling the sigh of relief that people are when they’re using your service. Like where’s your heart at? How are you feeling now that you’re really gaining progress and momentum?
Jennifer [00:45:02] Well, I’m always thrilled when I get to you know, it’s multifold. Right? So, like, every time I hear a good story from a client who I know we were able to help, even when we can help a young lawyer or a new lawyer or someone who’s, you know, transitioning, that really makes me happy. So. For example, Mike was on the other day and there was a lawyer, but she happened to be a woman of color in a more rural part of Texas, and she called in and said, look, my law practice is like my small business and I’ve always wanted to be able to tap into, like Houston as a potential client base. But I’ve never been able to because I live in the more rural parts of Texas. I don’t have a Houston office. I can’t afford Houston office overhead right now. But I went on your platform, LawChamps, and now I’m able to identify that I want to take a client increase from Houston. And now I’m getting Houston clients. And then now I’m going to have a potential to get into a more lucrative market. And Mike was like, you go! [Inaudible] with yourself building your business, you know? And so there’s there’s every time I hear that we’ve helped a specific client, I get happy. Every time I hear that we’ve helped a specific lawyer, I get really happy, too. Right. But there’s also the broader things that make me happy, like the fact that the business is building or that the Forbes article comes out. And so I know that we’re starting to build our brand and people are going to become more aware of us. And that makes me you know, that makes me gratified as a founder. That makes me happy. It’s exciting. And, you know, every day it’s like I say, every day that I get to do this. It’s like living the dream because. Ultimately, how I define success is to get to work hard at something that you enjoy and something that you think is making a positive impact. And if you get to do that, I mean, what more could you want? Like, if I can keep paying the mortgage on my San Francisco flat and raising my son and at the same time do something that I think is making a positive difference in the world, I can’t imagine anything else I’d rather be doing.
Anjana [00:47:27] We are so jealous of you or just like, how do we get there?
Epsa [00:47:30] I know, I completely agree. And I think this whole conversation, Jennifer, has really just been so refreshing and it’s been so cool just hearing how fulfilled you feel in your role. And I mean, Anjana and I are looking forward to the day where we are in the same position you are in. And with that, at the end of most of our podcast episodes, we kind of like to take it back to the theme of Reimagined, how are the people that we’re interviewing really reimagining, reevaluating the industries they are in and kind of paving a path for something different, paving a path for change. So for you, Jennifer, since you’ve been in this field for about 20 years, really fighting, like you said, big systemic issues that prevent consumers from fairly having access to the judicial system. In your opinion with Law champs, how is LawChamps reimagining the legal space and the approach to legal wellness?
Jennifer [00:48:25] So traditionally, the law is. It’s a white collar professional space where lawyers or other professionals, they serve other businessmen and very wealthy families who can afford to have lawyers on retainer, traditionally that is the space. And our vision of the law is that a lawyer is a counselor and an adviser who will also give you practical steps that you can take to make your life better. And our vision of the law is that every day lawyers who look and feel and are closer to their actual clients are serving clients and that those clients are everyday people. They’re the parents, they’re the students, they’re the small business owners. They’re the people who have an idea. They’re the people that are out there, you know, doing their side hustle and putting their IP out there. But they don’t really know how to build on it, are protected and that need help. And so our vision is that the lawyers who are closer to those people are going to be helping them and that they’re all going to be able to be connected through technology and that technology will be a tool and that they’ll be able to instantaneously connect and work together. So similarly to how you see telemedicine, where more the idea is that more people are going to have access to health care, that we’re going to find alternative ways to get health care to more people, that it doesn’t necessarily only have to come through your university or come through your corporate job, that rather everyone should be entitled to health care. And then you have access to your doctor is sort of as needed on demand. And that will also make sure that more people get quality health care. That’s our vision for the law, that the law should be open and accessible to everyone when they need it and legal advice should be there for them for the taking. And that technology can be a tool to get legal education and legal advice into the hands of more people.
Anjana [00:50:52] That was amazing. We are, first of all, tremendously inspired by you and we are so, so excited for our listeners to also continue to be inspired by you. But Epsa and I both just wanted to say thank you so much for the work that you’re doing. You are working toward a better world, and we are really, really excited to see where LawChamps is headed.
Jennifer [00:51:12] Well, again, thanks for today. It was fun.