• “Legal Toolkit,” Legal Talk Network. “How Millennials View the Legal Industry,” (Andrew Rosson and Elan Fields, host: Jared Correia.
• “Best Ways to Upgrade Your Technology in 2018“, Attorney at Work, Joan Feldman.
• “5 Questions with Elan Fields: Will Gideon Break the 80% Gap for Legal Help?”, Legal Executive Institute, Thomson Reuters.
Watson University, 2016: Social Entrepreneurship.
Past significant jobs: Fellow for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Campaign.
Is this your first start-up? In high school, I successfully bootstrapped an automotive business.
What problem does your startup solve?
Gideon is an intelligent messaging and intake analytics platform designed to remove barriers to the attorney/client relationship. Gideon helps law firms talk to consumers almost anywhere online: on their website, directory profiles and across social media.
We use a chatbot to capture and qualify leads, answer initial inquiries and book meetings. When a lead is qualified, Gideon immediately alerts the relevant attorney or staff member, who can jump in to convert the lead in real time, over messaging.
Gideon learns a firm’s preferences respecting particular case types and predicts likely case outcomes, enabling law firms to deploy resources to optimum value. Built to fit existing workflows, Gideon smoothly integrates with customer relationship management (CRM) or case management software.
Is the service currently on the market? Not yet. We will be releasing our beta soon.
Do you have any patents? No.
What inspired you to pursue this startup? Growing up, I would visit my father (a trial court judge) at his courthouse. I saw firsthand how many litigants went to trial without legal representation. I saw the consequences this had on the outcomes in court. This sparked my passion and interest to investigate issues regarding access to justice. I resolved to leverage technology to improve legal service delivery models and better help lower and middle income people deal with their legal issues.
Do you have funding yet? In our first months we won a cash prize at a business plan completion. Now, we are in the process of raising a seed round.
What is your biggest challenge re: the start-up? Our product has two interfaces—one for attorneys and one for legal consumers. Working to satisfy the needs of both attorneys and consumers continues to be a challenge, but is undoubtedly worthwhile.
What have you learned that you wish you knew five years ago? The path is never linear and don’t expect it to be.
What two people are/were your most important mentors and why? Watson University founder and CEO Eric Glustrom. He continues to inspire me with incredible insights and advice from his own experiences. He encouraged me to pursue my greatest entrepreneurial ambitions. Joel Feldman, a housing discrimination lawyer, whose fee-shifting model has enabled hundreds of embattled tenants and homeowners to receive legal help and thereby remain in their homes. He has been a close adviser since the beginning of Gideon.
What book changed your life? Bryan Stevenson’s book Just Mercy. Said a friend: “Reading this book surely continued the process of opening my eyes to what people of color in this country know all too well: that our criminal justice system is fundamentally unjust.”
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs? Patience.
What are you afraid of? Not doing enough to address the fundamental flaws in our legal system.
Where do you expect to be in 10 years? Hopefully, building the future of consumer-centric legal services with Gideon, but also pursuing projects in other spheres aimed at helping underserved populations.
What would be your dream career if you were not a lawyer and entrepreneur? Documentary filmmaker.
What does your workspace look like? (Borrowed from Sam Gosling.) Right now, it’s my apartment or one the many cafes in New York City, but we are moving into a real office space this Fall.
Favorite vacation destination? I usually look to go to new places, but two of my favorite spots are Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and Waimea Canyon in Kauai.
Favorite musician: Bob Dylan
Favorite food: Spaghetti and meatballs.
Favorite quote: “The opposite of poverty isn’t wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice.” —Bryan Stevenson.
What’s your mantra? Put a dent in the universe.
Aside from family members, who would you want sitting next to you if you got stuck for three hours on the tarmac in a 737? Jon Stewart.
Compiled by Monica Bay, CodeX Fellow and freelance journalist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MonicaBay.
Cover and other images: Clipart.com
Photo courtesy of Elan Fields.
“Message” courtesy of Elan Fields.