MIAMI — A Florida-based business offering a la carte legal services has grown by leaps and bounds, expanding into 23 states in just two years.
Court Buddy matches prospective clients with attorneys. It was created to make legal services more affordable and readily available for individuals who represent themselves in Florida courts. The founders, James and Kristina Jones, saw a simultaneous need among solo attorneys and small firms looking for more clients in an oversaturated market.
“When we started out, we were focused on helping as many people as possible. We didn’t really place a number on how many people we could or would help, but we knew from our pre-launch market research that Court Buddy could have a shot at making a positive impact in the legal industry,” CEO and attorney James Jones Jr. told The Florida Record. “In less than two years, we have matched thousands of consumers and small business owners with top solo attorneys based on their budget across 23 states. The numbers literally change daily.”
Just months after it launched in January 2015, Court Buddy expanded from serving southern Florida to the entire state. Now its services include states stretching across the country.
Court Buddy pairs up people by posing a series of questions about the type of case, the court location and the date on which they need help with a legal matter, as well as the preferred language spoken by their future attorney. The user also establishes his or her budget. Attorneys' practice areas include business law, immigration, tax, personal injury, criminal defense, real estate and family law.
“Based on their responses to these questions, users get instantly matched with attorneys who are available to represent them immediately,” Jones said.
Court Buddy has been recognized for numerous entrepreneurship awards, including by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce as Tech Leader of the Year. Both attorneys and those looking to hire an attorney can begin the search on the company’s website or use its smartphone app.
Unbundling legal services so consumers can pick and choose what they need a lawyer to do helps bring down the cost. The old way of billing hourly rates, plus a retainer, isn’t working, Jones said.
“The most common feedback that we have received is that they are happy there is a service in existence like Court Buddy,” he said. “If you think about it, we budget for food, clothing, housing and other bills. So why can’t we budget for legal? Why do we have to come up with a $5,000 to $10,000 retainer to pay to an attorney before any legal work is done? Court Buddy saves them thousands of dollars in legal fees while still receiving quality legal services. I would guess that the savings is what makes them happy.”