Harlem Capital is pleased to announce its investment in Paladin — the legal-tech startup taking aim at making pro-bono services more efficient. The mission-driven team with two women at the helm, Felicity Conrad and Kristen Sonday, are passionate about helping to close the justice gap in the legal system.
Lawyers have a responsibility to spend 50+ hours per year rendering pro-bono services (over 50% of the attorney workforce reported volunteering hours in 2016). However, the pro-bono division at many law firms are traditionally underserved by technology, leading to manual and inefficient processes. As a result, cumbersome spreadsheets are the main method currently used to track hundreds of thousands of logged pro-bono hours every year; disproportionately affecting communities of color.
Enter Paladin. Their platform streamlines pro-bono management for legal teams, enabling them to track non-profit projects, assign lawyers to tasks, and seamlessly log contributed hours, notes, and more.
“From the moment I heard about Paladin, I knew I wanted to collaborate with them somehow. “ says John Henry, Venture Partner at Harlem Capital. “I had personally experienced the pain of well-meaning, but terribly managed pro-bono services that often end up costing you more money than it saves you.” says Henry, who initially met Paladin cofounder Kristen Sonday at a Latino Founders Collective Dinner, held by the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“Everytime you encounter a team, they either build or diminish confidence. This is the type of team that built confidence at every touch-point with us; from Product, to Sales, to Investor Relations — they have everything we look for.” Henry goes on. “Also important to me, was the Hispanic Immigrant background that Kristen and I share. Supporting strong Latino leaders is part of the reason Harlem Capital exists.”
“They’ve demonstrated that business can be a positive force for change.” adds Gabrielle Cazeau, Spring Associate at Harlem Capital who helped lead the diligence efforts for this deal. “ You can ‘do well’ and ‘do good’ at the same time.”
This is Harlem Capital’s 6th investment, bringing their total portfolio composition to 50% women-led, and two-thirds minority-led. The diversity-focused fund is on a mission to invest in over 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years.
To learn more about Harlem Capital, or to recommend a founder to their database of Diverse Founders, visit Harlem.Capital/DiversityPortal.