AUSTIN, Texas -- Many of us will need legal help at some point in our lives, but only a few will be able to afford it.

  • Companies tackle “justice gap”
  • Many people cannot afford representation
  • Startup helps connect clients with attorneys

“While there is a right to legal counsel for criminal cases that’s not the same for civil cases,” attorney Alex Shahrestani said.

There is some help available to those making less than $24,000 annually, but for others, having legal help is cost prohibitive.

“The people in the justice gap, they don’t have $3 to $5,000 to pull out of some account to give to an attorney,” Joseph Cooper, CEO of Justice for Me said.

Some people believe technology can bridge that gap.

“Technology can automate various functions. Whether that’s client intake or document drafting and that lets you spend less time on each case and more time serving more people,” Shahrestani said.

The startup Justice for Me helps connect clients to attorneys across Austin and San Antonio, without having to pay large, up-front fees.

“They can make a $100, $200 payment to take care of an issue,” Cooper said.

Legal experts say getting rid of retainment fees while connecting people to the attorneys of their choice can be life-changing.

“There is no doubt in my mind that there are attorneys who love what we’re doing, and even less doubt that there are clients who need the services of those attorneys at a reasonable rate and something that they can pay off over time,” Cooper said.