By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
As soon as Kisha Brown started law school at Georgetown University, people began reaching out to ask her how they could find a lawyer. It dawned on Brown that many members of the Black community do not have access to legal representation.
As a Black lawyer herself, she felt that she needed to improve and strengthen the connection between the legal world and the Black community, while also ensuring that Black lawyers are receiving proper exposure as legal resources.
“I decided to build this network that would exemplify the excellence that’s in the Black legal community, while being able to also educate and empower Black people,” said Brown. “Black lawyers do it all.”
After working in various positions at the Maryland Attorney General’s Office and becoming the first woman to lead the Baltimore City Civil Rights Office, Brown founded Justis Connection in 2019. The platform serves as the only lawyer referral network dedicated to promoting Black lawyers, and it contains over 600 Black lawyers in the Washington, Maryland and Virginia area.
While Brown hadn’t always envisioned herself owning a business, she has always possessed an entrepreneurial spirit. When she was in fifth grade, she had a fashion company in which she drafted contracts for the pretty girls to become models.
Although she started and maintained a career in public service, she stopped enjoying it once it became political. Brown set out to infuse her passion of advocating for the voiceless, in particular the Black community, in her career, but the politicization of public service interfered with this. Justis Connection allowed her to make her passion the centerpiece of her career.
“For me, it’s all about educating and empowering people in the law, especially Black people. The history in this country of the Black experience in the law is fraught with oppression and manipulation,” said Brown. “We often don’t see justice for ourselves, and I want people to at least have access to legal resources that can bring them the justice that they need and deserve.”
The top areas of law for Justis Connection are typically family, business, employment, personal injury and criminal. However, the platform features Black lawyers of all practice areas. Justis Connection also vets all of the lawyers on its website to ensure that they are properly barred and that they do not have any current or pending grievances against them.
When users seek to connect with a lawyer, they fill out a short questionnaire to detail their issue, timeline and budget. Then, Justis Connection’s algorithm offers a list of potential lawyers.
As a Black female entrepreneur, Brown faced challenges in building Justis Connection. While starting out, she bootstrapped her business, but she will need access to capital to grow and scale Justis Connection.
In 2022, Justis Connection will expand to New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, Chicago and South Florida.
“The full vision is that Justis Connection becomes a marketplace for the Black experience in the law,” said Brown.
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