Inspiration

BernieSez is an attempt to move direct mail letter campaigns to smartphones. Instead of sorting through and comparing a bunch of letters from lawyers, upload your case details via a picture of the ticket, and receive bids from lawyers.

What it does

In addition to the inbound leads, we also provide outbound leads to lawyers. We scrape both NC and PA court records, pass those through a 3rd party API for address cleaning/append, and then make those court records available to lawyers via a simple UI. Lawyers can query the data in many ways, with automatic delivery via email each morning of new cases.

How I built it

I built the backend database schema using Adesso, and wireframed mockups and workflow with Balsamiq. A team of java developers then built the front end and hooked it to the backend using Adesso WebServices APIs.

Challenges I ran into

Biggest challenge is discoverability...populating a two-sided marketplace is challenging and tough. Much tougher than building the applications.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

The system works as advertised. It continually improves...we keep adding new features and improvements. And we are making lots of (anonymized) court data publicly available, so that the average Joe can quickly view court records for particular judges and determine racial bias.

What I learned

Lots. Mainly that building something is not even half the battle. Getting it discovered is really fucking hard.

What's next for BernieSez

We are working on making 35 million court records in North Carolina publicly available via a simple UI plus access via RESTful APIs. We are also working on an employee monitoring system which works as follows: employer enters details about their employees (eg, last name, first name, driver license #, current address, etc). Every morning our system will compare those details against the new court records scraped, and if there is a match, an email is sent to the employer with details of the arrest record or infraction. We feel that this service enhances background searches in that it is something that is done daily instead of only at the time of hiring.

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