‘Ethical Disruption’ Set To Benefit More New Yorkers Through Partnership Between Legal.io and The New York State Bar Association

Partnership set to support all 72,000 NYSBA attorney members through a series of new programs designed to increase access to justice across the state.


Legal.io, the leading provider of marketplace and referral management technology for the legal industry, and the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”), today announced a wide-ranging partnership that will extend to support NYSBA’s 72,000 attorney members and aims to increase access to legal services across the state using Legal.io’s state-of-the-art legal technology systems.

“Lawyers are rising to the great civic and economic challenges of our time, combining their skills with technology to protect our families and the most vulnerable among us, and to unleash opportunities for hard-working Americans across the country,” said Tony Lai, CEO of Legal.io. “We’re proud to partner with one of the largest associations of lawyers in the world to redefine how lawyers can scale the delivery of legal services to a greater number of people at a lower cost, and to create the trusted, go-to online destination for consumers and businesses seeking to rely on New York law, all around the world.”

“The Legal.io technology will enable the New York State Bar Association to expand the reach of our Lawyer Referral Service, providing access to justice to more New Yorkers” said President Claire Gutekunst.

“Individuals seeking legal advice will be able to access the online platform 24 hours a day. Our staff will match them with a local lawyer with legal expertise in their problem area or, when applicable, match them with a local bar association that maintains a lawyer referral program,” she said. “We look forward to going public with the service in the coming weeks.”

While the buzzword “disruptor” is typically reserved for tech-giants such as Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb, applying technology to the uniquely complex legal system requires a different kind of disruption that embraces the consumer protection mandate and standard setting capacity of institutions like NYSBA, to benefit both the public and the profession.

Via this partnership, the New York State Bar Association and Legal.io will be collaborating to launch a modern, professional platform to connect the broader ecosystem of legal support organizations across the state. While consumers and businesses may once have struggled to know exactly where to go for the right legal help, this partnership is premised on an understanding that the separate parts of the legal support ecosystem (including lawyers, courts, government agencies, local bar associations, legal service agencies, social services, etc.) function as a whole, with respect to facilitating access for the public and supporting the development of the profession.

“The platform is built on custom machine learning algorithms, incorporates supply-demand matching, intake and triage, and user-experience best practices,” said Pieter Gunst, President of Legal.io. “And by efficiently tracking outcomes on each help request and referral, we can both save time and improve standards of service for all parties, while enabling everyone to benefit from a constantly improving AI-based system.”

The staged rollout of the platform will first update NYSBA’s public-facing lawyer referral service with online access points incorporating smart 24/7 intake functionality, so that members of the public can submit their needs without needing to understand complex legalese. Subsequent phases will support referral between organizations in the New York ecosystem (including organizations like the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, who have already successfully implemented Legal.io technology.) Later in the year, the platform will also allow NYSBA to implement specific platforms for different areas of law, and to support lawyer-to-lawyer referral across their entire membership base.

When comparing against other online sources of legal help, the key differentiator for this partnership is the trusted, vetted, nature of the referrals, and the human-touch, public service commitment offered by trained bar association staff. For decades, the bar association community has fostered a public service ethic and taken seriously its responsibility to be a trusted lifeline in moments of crisis. With Legal.io, NYSBA is building on this responsibility by embracing innovation, while supporting the legal profession in rising to the challenge of an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous future.

About Legal.io

Legal.io builds award-winning referral management and marketplace technology for the legal services industry, developed from research into legal service innovation at CodeX, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. Legal.io technology is used by leaders across the legal industry seeking to coordinate content, community, and commerce through their own branded online platforms. With built-in machine-learning and workflow automation, Legal.io platforms optimize the discovery and delivery of legal resources and expertise within and across trusted networks, enabling better client experiences from intake to outcome.

Additional coverage at Legaltech News, the New York Law Journal and the New York State Bar Association.