In 2015, the husband-and-wife team of James Jones Jr. and Kristina Jones founded Court Buddy, a service that matches consumers with vetted lawyers at affordable prices. Last November, the couple stepped aside from the business to pursue other interests. In their time running the company, they had raised $7.1 million and won numerous awards and honors.

Achieving success as a legal tech startup is notable in itself, but James and Kristina Jones also were among the few Black founders in an industry with a striking diversity problem. One survey of the legal tech industry found that only 2.3% of founders were Black and 3.1% were Latinx.

Among the milestones they achieved, Court Buddy was named the winner of the American Bar Association’s Brown Select Award for Legal Access in 2017, a winner of the inaugural American Entrepreneurship Award in 2016, and a winner of a Webby Award in 2018. When they raised their first financing round in 2017, Kristina was recognized as only the 14th African-American woman ever to raise $1 million or more. Last year, Black Enterprise named the couple as its Techpreneurs of the Year.

In this episode of LawNext, James Jones, a former practicing lawyer, joins host Bob Ambrogi to share their story of starting, building and ultimately stepping away from Court Buddy, and of how being a Black entrepreneur in legal tech presented certain obstacles he otherwise would not have encountered.

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Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal…

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division. At LexBlog, he oversees LexBlog.com, the global legal news and commentary network.