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Iranian-born Bahar Ansari is an immigration attorney who has helped countless families obtain U.S. citizenship by creating a cost-effective way for people to hire lawyers: 2nd.law. The first virtual law firm, which she cofounded, offers legal services to clients hoping to receive over 20 different types of U.S. visas, and already has assisted many immigrants in qualifying for work in America. 2nd.law also offers services in employment law, family law, estate planning, business law, and personal injury law.
By utilizing artificial intelligence (AI), or what Ansari calls “robot lawyers,” the firm is able to provide legal services at up to 75% lower rates than those offered by traditional firms, and also in rural areas where people typically would not be able to find lawyers. In addition, thanks to the robot lawyers, the human lawyers of 2nd.law are able to spend more time working on high-priority issues for their clients rather than completing reams of paperwork.
“I helped to create 2nd.law because I believe in equality for all,” Ansari says. “In most countries, it takes a law degree to understand complex laws and regulations — and those laws often limit or control your rights. Greedy lawyers line their pockets by ‘helping’ clients deal with these laws. At 2nd.law, we believe in hacking the law, using robots to make the law work for you.” By disrupting the global legal market, Ansari hopes to “make justice more accessible to everyone.”
Ansari, who moved from Iran to the United States when she was 16, always knew that she wanted to be a lawyer. “I see being a lawyer as a social responsibility. I wanted to be a human rights activist and help change the world,” she says. Having gone through the immigration process herself gives her a unique perspective, enabling her to truly connect with her clients and their challenges.
Although Ansari loved earning both her MA of Laws and JD, upon joining a law firm, she quickly realized how much time is spent buried in paperwork and struggling to meet unrealistic billing requirements. “The hopes and dreams quickly faded,” she reports. “I grew more and more frustrated because it never felt like I was doing enough or could reach enough people. I grew unhappier with time.”
Eventually, Ansari realized that while she was “successful” from an external point of view, she wasn’t happy because she wasn’t passionate about what she was doing. She wasn’t following her life purpose. She had become a lawyer to fight for equal rights, to make the world a better place. Yet she knew that while there are over 1.2 million attorneys in the U.S., many people cannot afford or access them. “There is no justice if there is no access to lawyers, ” she says.
So, Ansari’s new dream and passion became clear: “To close the access to justice gap and restore the legal industry to what it was meant to stand for: truth, justice and order.” She believed that she could increase access and affordability through the development of innovative and effective technology. To that end, in 2016 she cofounded Case.one Inc., a California-based legal tech company specializing in the development of legal process automation tools. In 2018, she cofounded 2nd.law based on the Case.one technology.
Today, Ansari feels that her career is aligned with her life purpose. She is increasing access to justice for low and moderate-income people and other vulnerable populations. “Success, to me, is a chance to be impactful on a system that has shaped human behavior for centuries, restoring fairness and justice to the legal system,” she says.
Ansari definitely faces challenges in her work. The legal industry is a conservative one, not known for its early adoption of technology. To wit, most lawyers still work on paper. But Ansari feels that is exactly why 2nd.law is so needed. “We are hoping to do for the legal industry what AirBnB has done for the travel industry, what Uber has done for the transportation industry, and what Apple has done for the music industry.”
As for how others can align their careers with their life purpose, Ansari urges you to simply do something you love every single day. “Be driven by your passions, not possessions. If there is nothing that makes you happy at work, then it’s time to find a new career. You have to think limitless to feel limitless to live limitless.”
March 15, 2019 at 09:08AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs