Why we picked a fight with Billboard Lawyers (and how you can join us) (Joshua Schwadron)

In 2015, I founded Mighty with a mission to help innocent people get a better deal from the justice system after an accident. We saw massive opportunities to help the innocent party by using data, litigation finance, and new technology. We raised millions from top VCs and assembled a mission-driven team. By many metrics, we were successful, and many of our products are still widely used in PI today and generate millions in revenue. 

But in reality, we chickened out. We held the naive view that if we built tech products that increased efficiencies for PI lawyers and other service providers, those savings would somehow trickle down to injured people. But because we never addressed the fundamental problem in personal injury – misaligned incentives – they never did. By the metric of our mission, we failed.

What do I mean by “misaligned incentives?”  Because PI lawyers are paid a percentage of the total settlement, they are incentivized to: (1) work to inflate the total settlement even when doing so actually harms the client (2) outsource their operational tasks to third-parties as “out of pocket case expenses” so they can pass them onto the client (3) provide as narrow of a service as possible by focusing exclusively on activities that increase the settlement, ignoring other important needs. These incentives encourage behavior that directly hurts the vulnerable when they are most vulnerable.

The question now is: How do we rewire those incentives, especially given a regulatory landscape in which lawyers still need to play a central role in cases? We spent months untangling and redesigning many of the key components of the PI experience into the Mighty you see today — it’s the personal injury service we’d tell our friends and family to call if they got into an accident. Here’s how it works: 

  1. Clients who sign with Mighty only work with lawyers who play by the rules and charge at least 10% less

Mighty Law is our partner law firm that adheres to a Code of Conduct unlike anything practiced in PI today. For example, Mighty Law lawyers must charge a rate that’s at least 10% lower than industry standard, follow strict disclosures to ensure hyper-transparency, and allow their clients to test their services for 60 days with no commitment.

  1. We share costs with clients, incentivizing us to lower them 

Mighty Law has implemented a cost-sharing mechanism that essentially means that clients get 10% back on most of the expenses associated with their cases. We made the decision to do this not only because it gives more of the settlement to our clients, but because it aligns our interests with theirs, since we have an incentive to bring these costs down in the near and long term.

  1. We help our clients with far more than just legal services. We want to be with them for everything that happens on their journey. 

The rule of thumb at most PI law firms today is to only help clients in ways that may impact the value of their case. But people after an accident need help with far more than that.  We help clients get their car repaired, find mental health support, facilitate interest-free friends and family loans, and much more.

  1. We tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth

We will never use the total settlement number in advertising without context because it’s highly misleading. We will never refer a patient to a medical provider that buys lunch for our office or takes Mighty Law lawyers to sports games. We will never allow our lawyers to have settlement quotas, which would incentivize them to settle cases solely to hit business goals. What we will do is value truth, honesty, and frankness, all while under-promising and over-delivering.

We’re just getting started

In the coming months and years, you can expect us to continue innovating, with one singular metric of success in mind: does this directly benefit the innocent person after an accident? We will be thinking and building in public and I’ll be posting developments on my Twitter and on our company blog. But I know we won’t succeed alone.  

Reach out to me directly at js@mighty.com if you think we could potentially work together to create a market that innovates, competes to lower prices for clients, and provides a better service to the people who are actually suffering.

Joshua Schwadron is the CEO and Founder of Mighty