The State of Georgia added 1 million new residents since 2010, meaning an impressive 10% population growth over the last decade.
The pool of lawyers in the state has also increased dramatically. The American Bar has tracked a 19% increase in the reported number of lawyers in the state over that same time period.
FourthParty is tackling one important vertical within the legal space: dispute resolution.
“Mediation and arbitration feel like awkward, big words and may not have relevance to the general public…but it’s truly something that touches all of us when we find ourselves in unfortunate conflicts,” Brogdon told Hypepotamus.
FourthParty is a CRM “providing modern solutions to legacy problems within the legal space,” Brogdon said, particularly when it comes to mediators, negotiations, or “neutral third parties” helping clients navigate situations like car accidents, divorces, custody battles, or landlord-tenant disputes.
She launched the idea with her co-founder/CEO and husband Gino Brogdon, Jr. in 2019 to fix the workflow problems he faced when moving into the mediation space.
Melissa and Gino are Morehouse and Spelman graduates. Melissa said she sees FourthParty as a way to bring technology to the negotiating table without cutting out the “human aspect” needed to get a deal done.
“If you think about a traditional negotiation, there are two disputing parties and there’s the person in the middle. We see technology as that fourth party that can come to the table and support the process,” she added.
The platform is designed specifically to reduce the time spent on non-billable and administrative tasks like scheduling and accessing case files in a secure manner.
Those using the platform range from solo negotiators to large firms that provide administrative support to negotiators. FourthParty is currently hosting 1,000 active cases from negotiators across Georgia and the Southeast.
The team recently took home the $10k Audience Choice Grant at Startup Runway’s 13th Annual Showcase, an event designed to connect underrepresented founders to investors.
FourthParty was also named one of 14 Georgia-based teams to receive funding from Google for Startups Black Founders Fund earlier this year.
Melissa told Hypepotamus that the team is focused on growing its customer base and potentially bringing on new team members or strategic investments in 2022.
While FourthParty is designed specifically for mediators, Melissa said the team sees the technology as something that will be beneficial to the general public.
“The alternative dispute resolution (ADR) space is exploding, so there’s a lot of demand for more diverse neutrals and newer, younger neutrals to come in to do this work,” she added. “As we think about how we democratize this process and help people access high-quality legal services, mediation and arbitration are absolutely going to be a part of that conversation. I encourage people to get curious about it.”