Melinda, we’re thrilled to have you on board!

Tell us about your background.

For the last 8 years I have been working for and with technology companies in the role of Client Success. I have been in a few different industries, most recently in Enterprise technology supporting corporate communications, as well as with an Industry Analyst firm, and my longest stint being with a Legal Technology distributing news and trends on clients and industries. I truly enjoy each and every one of my clients, learning what they value from the technology, and supporting them to a path of success in their role.

What drew you to Paladin?

The attraction to join Paladin is the intersection of its technology, its reach, and its mission. Technology is so fascinating how lines of code turn into a product to solve tangible, everyday issues. Paladin’s mission to reduce the barriers to gain access to justice is incredibly exciting and the thought of contributing to that is very motivating. At the end of the day the product isn’t just helping the end users perform their job with less obstacles, it is helping real people with their obstacles in their lives. It is akin to the Dr. Seuss quote “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world”.

Why is access to justice important to you?

I believe that access to justice is important, because people in the same situation do not always have a shared history or the same access to resources. Prior to entering the technology industry, I was a teacher and I saw students walk into the same school building attempting to achieve the same outcome, but with vastly different skill sets and knowledge base. It required meeting each student where they were at to help them achieve where they were headed. The same is true for justice, and the basic human rights we all should be afforded/awarded. I see the work Paladin is doing as bridging the equity gap and supporting those who are less privileged, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the access to justice.

Desert island: one album, one book, one movie.

  • Album: Southside by Sam Hunt
  • Book: Friends Forever: They One About the Episodes by Gary Susman, Jeannine Dillon and Bryan Cairns
  • Movie: It’s A Wonderful Life

Which GIF best represents how you feel about building justice?

Friends GIF - Friends Excited Phoebe GIFs

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.

More from Kristen