We haven’t talked much, because we’ve been learning, and building things: the team, the roadmap, tools. In a whirlwind year, it was time to put our heads down.
If you gave us your email address, I promised not to spam you. — I hope an update once a year isn’t too much to bear 😎 But, shortly we will have more regular updates (and a podcast) as we move into beta testing. (Bring on the feedback! Reach us through the on-site chat.)
A lot has happened in the year since our whitepaper release, but of greatest importance at this stage in a project, we put together a killerteam.
I have known, and worked with, our CTO, Konstantin Brazhnik for fifteen years. We learned “how to digital” together through the lens of video and interactive production. First, in a pack of nerds without a film department in undergrad, and then doing more of the same for five years, but for money, at my first company. He is a coder and a physics major with an MFA in interactive media. He is a founder in his own right, having run his own businesses in software design/development, and real estate. As we have moved through our education and careers, he has consistently been on my “If I could just get them to drop whatever cooler project they’re hacking on” speed-dial.
The release of the whitepaper was followed by the release of our e-book: “How a Blockchain Works and What it Can Do (in plain english)” written by our General Counsel, Ethan Mackay. Ethan, came onboard in the spring after completing his JD/MBA at Columbia University, where he spent a lot of time writing about blockchain. (Hence the ebook.) He decided to dedicate his work to legal tech after realizing its potential to raise the standard of living for millions of people around the world. During graduate school he summered at Fenwick & West and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Before graduate school he worked at the U.S. Department of Justice and City Year.
Saul Kerpelman, a career civil rights attorney, came onboard as chairman, making Juris the focus of his fellowship at Harvard through their Advanced Leadership Initiative. Saul founded his own law firm in 1986 and, over 35 years, grew it into the nation’s leading firm in the representation of children suffering from lead poisoning. Over that time, he secured over $300 million for more than 4,000 families. He also drove many policy initiatives to eradicate lead paint and close loopholes for repeat offenders.
Our work at Harvard provided focus for the Juris Project Mission, connected us with an invaluable network of advisors, and guided us in the creation of our first tool: Juris.Legal, launching in beta soon, and our second tool which we can’t talk about yet 😉
In the fall we brought in John Park as VP of Business Development to complete our “core-team.” John is a reformed corporate lawyer, who bailed for the business world after adding an MBA to the stack. He brings extensive SaaS business development experience, as well as perspective from time clocked at a proper big law firm. John has brought focus to our market exploration and partnership outreach.
Finally, in early 2019, at the completion of the ALI fellowship, we brought Randy Cohen onboard as an official Senior Advisor. Randy is a widely published professor at Harvard Business School with a PhD in Finance. Through the ALI program we were able to take part in a semester of his renowned Field X course. The course is, in essence, a Harvard Business School run startup incubator. We spent a lot of time talking to Randy, and we wanted an excuse to keep it up. He brings an invaluable network and experience to the team.
We spent this year building the backbone technologies and methodologies for the kind of problems we intend to take on. The law is important and the impact it has on everyone’s lives is undeniable. As we introduce increasingly advanced technology into the legal world it serves to take our time. To do our research. To build with intention.
We spent the year deep in the un-sexy part of the code, learning the new things, and testing the old. As we learned the limits and the possibilities, and explored the potential markets, our roadmap has taken shape. But first, blockchain.
It is undeniable that Juris started life as a blockchain project. And it remains a blockchain project at its core. The year since the release of our whitepaper has only increased our belief in the merits of blockchain technology. Blockchain is here, it has a purpose, and we will use it because its fundamental strengths bear significant overlap with our fundamental mission.
It has become clear, as the roadmap takes shape, that the first steps of our journey with Juris do not yet look like the smart contracts and token eco-systems of which our whitepaper dreamed. As other teams “#buidl” the landscape is taking shape. The backbone structures of our system take the possibilities into account. Functionally, our beta is Ethereum ready. And we are watching the eco-system carefully.
In coming weeks, in California and New York, we will begin beta testing our first legal tool: Juris.Legal. For the average citizen of these states, it will be a place to seek legal advice from verified, state bar licensed, lawyers. For the lawyers, this is a window into our vision of the future of legal practice. Here we have started building a system able to solve for the most good done, instead of the most hours billed.
There are, of course, many other balls rolling as we speak. In the coming year we will have new tools to launch, to test, and to develop, and we hope to announce a number of exciting partnerships on both business and social impact fronts. If you’re still here, and still excited, please reach out. The Intercom chat on Juris Project or Juris.Legal are a good place to start, or you can email as us here: [email protected].
Thank you for being part of our work so far, and we hope you’ll jump in as beta testing gets underway very soon.
Co-Founder, CEO, Juris