October 20, 2022

This Black-Woman-Owned Startup Is Helping People Be Their Own Lawyers

Black-owned startup CourtRoom5 is a platform dedicated to providing everyone with access to the courts and justice available to all.

Founded in 2017 by Sonja Ebron and Debra Slone, CourtRoom5 works to help civilians navigate the judicial system and offers affordable legal advice to people from marginalized communities who can’t afford legal aid.

Navigating the judicial system

Sonja Ebron PhD is an electrical engineer and entrepreneur with a background in AI. She co-founded CourtRoom5 with her wife Debra Slone PhD, a former library school professor and qualitative data analysis expert. Motivated by their own difficult experiences of navigating the judicial system, they decided to help others in similar situations.

CourtRoom5 provides people with the tools, resources, and workshops needed to help them settle civil cases – with or without a lawyer to accompany them on the day. Through the resources they provide, people of all classes can learn and understand the legal process – without being shut out.

“The idea was to develop a system that would lower the risk and time for lawyers, enabling them to serve people who otherwise couldn’t afford a lawyer,” Ebron said in an interview with Forbes

Ebron and Slone’s journey

Ebron and Slone are a part of Fastcase 50’s 2022 cohort, which aims to honor “the law’s most innovative, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders. 

Both founders created an organization that assists individuals through every case phase. They have also provided a system that makes it easier for users to view similar instances in the past, which could help better support them with their cases. 

CourtRoom5 has raised over $1 million to help develop its organization. According to Finurah, the firm is one of a few to receive funding and an award from the women’s investment group SheEO.  

Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.