There are many areas where the poor and marginalized fail to experience the ethical intent and effect of otherwise well-intentioned and well-constructed systems. The American justice system is one of these. Our system—in which everyone has a right to defend themselves legally and be considered innocent until proven guilty—works for those who can afford quality representation. But many cannot. As Bryan Stevenson has said of the American criminal justice system, the hard truth is that too often, defendants are better off being “guilty and rich than innocent and poor.”
We’re interested in new ventures that help address shortages in education, create new pathways to courtroom representation, and open access to quality, affordable legal services. Moreover, there continue to be myriad opportunities for lawyer-entrepreneurs to advocate for justice in a variety of communities and causes.
In today’s commercially-driven world people are more likely to be seen and referred to as 'consumers' than anything else. Instead of being met with resistance, this shift has often meant that individuals have formed their identity through a composite of brands, and product purchasing can be guided more by the desire to make a statement about one’s identity and values than strict utility. As a result, the lines between social movement, capitalism, and community are increasingly blurry (see: Nike, Whole Foods, and Patagonia).
Given this reality (which is with us for both better and worse), we’d like to support entrepreneurs with a vision for building brands with a counter-culturally virtuous and optimistic view of the world, spreading hope and beauty, eliminating stigma, and most fundamentally, redirecting our identity away from materialistic consumption and toward lasting contentment.
Praxis VEntures Working On This ORI
equips prisoners and prison officers to facilitate legal processes through legal education and training. They practice across Africa in underrepresented contexts (Alexander McLean, Nonprofit 2017).
is pioneering the country's first system of universal access to legal assistance, offering free legal services to those in low-income circumstances in the San Francisco area (Adrian Tirtanadi, Nonprofit 2016).