How it all Started

by Anil Makhijani on April 15, 2008

Almost a year and a half ago a few friends and I were chatting over dinner.  One of the dinner guests was a 1L at Harvard Law School, another was studying for his LSAT exam (he is currently at Harvard Law himself), and the last was a technology consultant at Accenture. I was doing research at MIT at the time.  Given the make up of the guests, our conversation naturally progressed to technology within the legal field.  We chatted about everything from legal research to Internet privacy to video conferencing within a courtroom.

Of all of these topics the one that gained the most traction was one about the process in which an underprivileged client goes through to get pro bono legal help.  The process seemed pretty arcane.  Apparently most people find pro bono legal help through community and religious institutions.  Furthermore, it seemed that if a lawyer wanted to find a pro bono case to work on, it would be difficult to find one. Additionally, there is no incentive structure for young lawyers to get involved with pro bono work.  The time pressures of a first year corporate job are tough enough without worrying about filling the ABA’s recommendation for 50 hours of pro bono service a year.

This is when Survv was born.  The dinner party pledged to do something about this problem of matching lawyers with underprivileged clients.  We said we would research the problem and meet again in a few weeks to discuss what we found.

To a cut a long story short, in the last year and a half we have been working hard on solving this problem of matching lawyers with underprivileged clients.  In that time we have worked on a web application called Survv, presented the idea to a number of people, and received some great feedback.  The most valuable conversation we have had was with the great folks at  This organization is a BEAST in this arena.  They have created a number invaluable websites and have helped a large number of underprivileged clients get legal council.  In addition to giving us advice, they also have promised to introduce us to various people in this industry who might be able to help us implement our ideas.

I decided to start this blog for two reasons.  First, I want to discuss the development of the web application that we are developing.  Second, I wanted a place to talk about what legal software is out there on the web, and what this software is doing to help proliferate legal knowledge on the internet.

Categories: Ideas,

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