Excerpt from The (Raleigh, NC) News and Observer’s Tech Xplore:
Every year in this country, millions of Americans head to court without a lawyer, even though it leaves them at a distinct disadvantage in many cases.
In some states, up to 80% to 90% of civil cases involve an unrepresented litigant—and often they are low-income or a member of a vulnerable population, a 2015 study from the George Washington University Law School found.
The same study found this was especially true in landlord-tenant matters, where it is typical for 90% of tenants to represent themselves while 90% of landlords appear with counsel.
Many people who are falling behind on debt payment or their mortgage don’t have the money to pay a lawyer. And without representation, some litigants, overwhelmed by trying to navigate complicated processes, might not even show up.
The consequences are very real. In landlord-tenant matters, it can lead to someone losing their home.
A Durham startup, about to graduate from one of the largest startup accelerators in the country, thinks it can help those who can’t afford expensive counsel in civil cases.
Courtroom5 was founded by professors Sonja Ebron and Debra Slone—Ebron taught electrical engineering and Slone information and library science—and operates as a management platform for people who choose to represent themselves in court. The company’s platform offers a step-by-step guide to navigating civil cases, helps litigants know what paperwork or information they will need, and provides automated templates to write pleadings and motions.
— Zachary Eanes, News and Observer