The NYU Law Venture Fund has made its first equity investment, providing $50,000 in capital to New York-based Paladin, co-founded by Felicity Conrad ’13. Paladin’s platform helps law firms and in-house corporate teams streamline their pro bono programs to increase access to justice.
The Venture Fund was created in 2019 with donor support to empower NYU Law student and alumni entrepreneurs through a range of programs: summer grants to student entrepreneurs, summer internships for students at start-ups, and a seed-stage investment fund that is directed at businesses founded by Law School students or alumni.
Paladin was selected by the Venture Fund’s Advisory Jury, composed of NYU Law alumni. The investment in Paladin is a significant milestone, says jury member and Law School Trustee Robert Gold ’84.
“The purpose of the Venture Fund is to create among students, faculty, and alumni a start-up–venture capital ecosystem,” says Gold, president and chief executive officer of Ridgewood Capital. “Paladin is a great first investment. It’s an area we care about, bringing technology to improve awareness of matters that need pro bono representation and thereby increasing access to justice. Having the investment process behind us and a mechanism in place gives us an opportunity to do it again and to continue the support of an entrepreneurial culture at the Law School.”
“The Venture Fund Jury was really impressed with Paladin’s mission and with the progress they’ve made in growing their business. We’re excited about the potential that’s ahead and believe that Paladin is on the right path to be a leader in the justice tech space,” says Anthony Thomas, NYU Law’s executive director of development and strategic partnerships. “We couldn’t be prouder about the fact that Paladin’s mission aligns so well with the Law School’s commitment to social good.”
A former litigator at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Conrad launched Paladin with co-founder Kristen Sonday in 2016. Working primarily with law firms, in-house legal departments, and legal services organizations, Paladin’s focus is on streamlining the process of pro bono referrals and matching lawyers with matters in their areas of interest. Providing a more tailored pro bono experience, its software increases pro bono engagement and lowers administrative costs.
“I’m really pleased to be able to partner with NYU Law,” says Conrad, who is Paladin’s CEO. “NYU Law is a private institution in the public interest, as Paladin is.” She notes that it’s especially meaningful for her, as an alumna and a company founder, to see the steps that the Law School is taking to support entrepreneurship in the Law School community: “It really is a big leap forward, and I’m very excited for NYU Law to enter this space.”
Posted August 12, 2020