HelpSelf uses simple AI to help those in legal trouble – TechCrunch
HelpSelf is a AI-assisted legal app that helps you deal with simple issues. Need protection against debt collectors? Need an expungement? Want to deal with domestic violence? This robot can help.
The project is an “automated legal technology company” that automates simple legal procedures. They currently work in the above areas but are moving into housing, family law, certain immigration tasks, and employment law, said Dorna Moini, co-founder of the project.
“We self-funded from the start start and are completely bootstrapped. We are making a profit through licensing fees for our document automation platform,” she said. “We use this document automation platform to create all of our new products and license it to lawyers to fund the tools we create. We just brought on another engineer and may be looking for funding in the next few months so we can expand more quickly.”
Moini has a background in trial litigation and worked for BigLaw and Sheppard Mullin. She also worked on civil rights issues in Africa including drafting legislation. Co-founder Michael Joseph has a background in engineering and information security.
The company sells its services to consumers and other lawyers.
“We built this all on our Document Automation Bot, which is available to any lawyer who wants to create similar ‘Turbo-Tax-like’ workflows, either just to streamline their internal work or to contribute to the library of legal tools available to the public,” she said.
“Honestly, there aren’t enough people in this field, especially those creating doc automation tools for access to justice. Apps like DoNotPay have gotten a lot of press in this area for their parking ticket app. Our services are more extensive and we provide lawyers with the tools to create their own version of DoNotPay for any area of law.”
The pair see their niche is vitally important. Because they focus on issues that other services ignore, they can solve real problems and get real justice for people. Competitors, said Moini, “serve small businesses and higher net worth individuals with needs like wills, trusts, and employment agreements.”
“I started HelpSelf because I saw the disparity between the technology available to my legal clients at my law firm and that available to my pro bono clients,” she said. “At the same time, the Trump administration had proposed cutting funding to legal aid to zero from about $400 million. I worked with domestic violence victims and asylum applicants, and set out to build tools that would streamline the process, allowing one lawyer to serve more clients pro bono and allowing individuals to take control of their own legal needs through tech.”