This article is part of our series featuring the founders of our 2020 Duke Law Tech Lab startups, early-stage legal tech companies with a mission to increase access to justice. Written by Justin Reinking (Duke Law JD ’22).
Public service is Jared Jaskot’s northern star.
Jared spent two years in El Salvador as a member the Peace Corps. After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center, Jared then served as a public defender in Baltimore for five years. Jared eventually opened his own immigration-focused law firm and primarily helps people fleeing violence in Central America.
As an immigration attorney, Jared saw first-hand the difficulty many immigrants face when seeking access to justice. For example, 80 percent of individuals in immigration court do not have a lawyer. The fees for asylum-related work are extremely high and many firms who are dedicated to helping people still struggle to meet the needs of all immigrants. Also, millions of immigrants do not receive the legal work that they qualify for because they are too scared, do not enough money, or do not have time to wait to speak with an attorney.
To help solve this crisis, Jared created YoTengo.bot. YoTengo.bot is a conversational AI platform, or chatbot, that helps individuals find information about their cases. The chatbot helps immigrants by giving them access to a free legal conversation that is available at any time of the day.
Moreover, the anonymity of a chatbot allows many immigrants fearful of deportation to ask difficult questions that they would not feel comfortable asking in person.
YoTengo.bot is a white label product that can be integrated to any law firm’s existing online presence. The chatbot is both multi-channel and multi-lingual. Conversations can begin on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, firm websites, and soon will be available by SMS. The bot can communicate in both Spanish and English as well. A new feature using proprietary machine learning gives clients videos of attorneys answering their questions within the chat. This helps clients receive free legal answers and lets them “try before they buy” with law firms.
YoTengo.bot has also created a network of law firms using the product. If a client comes to a firm that is not suited to handle the case, the firm’s bot can pass the lead to another immigration firm that has the YoTengo.bot on its site. This marketplace aspect of YoTengo.bot gives the company two revenue streams forming a market network business model.
While many of YoTengo.bot’s success stories have happened for US immigration law firms, the company is expanding to other areas of law and jurisdictions outside the United States. This unique conversational AI will allow firms to help people with immediate needs and serve as a mechanism for attracting clients.