Similar to considerations with other enterprise SaaS tools, we sometimes hear from firms that they’d prefer to try building pro bono management tools internally rather than plug into an existing network. In theory, this sounds great, but more often than not, firms end up spending significantly more time and money on any pro bono internal build than the benefit received, with little wiggle room to iterate on the product as industry best practices evolve.

Regardless of whether Paladin is the right solution, here are four reasons to outsource pro bono tech tools, and how we think about them:

  1. You’ll Increase Engagement through Real-time, Centralized Access to the Pro Bono Ecosystem. Without a direct connection to outside referring organizations, any tech created internally must be updated with content manually, wasting time and distracting from higher leverage work. Unfortunately, we hear of teams who have to update internal databases by hand, with opportunities that expire or are taken by other firms quickly, with a clunky user interface (sorry, firms!), and then are disappointed when it doesn’t succeed. Because Paladin allows you to directly connect with partner legal services organizations to create a real-time, intuitive database that attorneys can search for by practice area, community, causes, and type of work, they’re able to find available, timely matters of interest with the click of a few buttons. In addition, this one-stop shop provides the pro bono team real-time insight into what’s available across offices and saves time in updating and finding casework. We’ve found that attorneys on Paladin are 50% more likely to find pro bono through our real-time searchable database than to comb through old emails, which has been one of the two ways we’ve been able to scale engagement by over 30% in the first year.

In sum, building internally might seem like a way to save money, but in reality, the time and tech costs to build and maintain a standalone tool are significantly more expensive than outsourcing — without the benefits of having a real-time, industry-approved, tech-forward network available at your fingertips.

Let me know if you have other build v. buy considerations at [email protected].

Kristen Sonday Pic Headshot

Kristen Sonday

Kristen is the Co-Founder and CEO at Paladin. As a first generation-college Princeton graduate, Kristen first witnessed how complicated our judicial system is to navigate while at the U.S. Department of Justice conducting international criminal work in Mexico and Central America. As one of the few Latinos on the team, she saw the immense value of having an advocate with you throughout the legal process, which inspired her to want to build something to increase access for those in diverse communities. After DOJ, she joined the Founding Team of YC-backed Grouper, where she learned how to build a startup from the ground up. In addition to Paladin, Kristen Co-Chairs the Legal Services Corporation’s Emerging Leaders Council and is a partner at LongJump, investing in overlooked founders in the Chicago area.

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