A lawyer and nine law students from Brigham Young University in Utah are attempting to help individuals defend themselves against lawsuits filed by debt collection agencies.
The team have been interviewing individuals who have been sued by debt collectors and are trying to use technology to build a platform to help those people respond to lawsuits filed against them. In most jurisdictions, an individual has a short amount of time to respond to a lawsuit. If a response is not filed, the plaintiff can seek a summary judgment — an automatic win — and then use the judgment to seize assets and collect on the unpaid balance.
Engineers from IBM have been brought into the project, called LawX. The goal is to find a free solution that individuals can use to help them respond to lawsuits and help them better understand the legal process.
More than 70,000 debt collection lawsuits are filed every year in Utah, and, according to one source, 99.5% of defendants do not have legal counsel.
The brainchild behind LawX is Kimball Dean Parker, an associate at the law firm of Parsons Behle & Latimer and a “legal tech entrepreneur” according to his bio on the firm’s website. He says he is frustrated with the system.
“It’s a system designed for lawyers where the majority of defendants don’t have a lawyer,” he said. “That doesn’t make any sense.”