Written by David Silverberg
Let’s say you got fired from your job of 20 years without warning. You receive severance pay but you’re unsure if the amount is fair for the time you’ve put into this career.
Instead of turning to a pricey employment lawyer, you could opt to try Even Law, an online service that can “help you get the severance pay you are owed,” says Myles Kaufman, the Toronto company’s founder and CEO.
Available in Ontario only, so far, Even Law features an online application portal for anyone to submit information about their wrongful dismissal, such as termination notices and signed offer letters when the individual began employment. Within 48 hours, an applicant receives a response and are notified if they have a case. If so, Even matches them with one of several law firms they’ve partnered with since the business began in 2016.
There’s no cost to apply.
“Some people don’t know who to go to in these kinds of situations,” says Kaufman. “They might want to talk to a lawyer but a consultation meeting isn’t always free.”
If Even’s legal partners take on the case, the applicant only pays the firm and Even if they receive the severance money beyond what they already got.
“The last thing we want to do is put these people in more debt than they might already be, waiting for their next cheque,” adds Kaufman.
In 2017, Even worked with 135 clients out of 1,000 applications. Out of the claims they approved, 90 percent were successful.
Their business model is based on taking a cut of what the clients get in additional severance pay.
Kaufman says they mainly work with individuals, but they could work with smaller groups after mass terminations. There are also different legal rules for bankruptcy and liquidation cases, such as what Canadians dealt with recently with Sears.
He says Even is focused on Ontario now because “we want to capture the market here before moving on to other provinces.”
Kaufamn cut his legal teeth at University College London in the UK before working as a data analyst at SeatGeek, an event ticket marketplace. “When I was working at a criminal law firm in Toronto, I began to think about access to legal services, and I started to learn about litigation finance,” Kaufman recalls. He also taught himself to code, which definitely helped with building the software behind Even.
Being based in Toronto was a natural fit for Even. “There are so many law firms here, it made sense,” Kaufman notes. “And also, so many companies are based in Toronto.”
His day is enjoyably busy, he says, with many hours spent talking to potential clients and managing the technology back-end and marketing platforms to better promote the business.
While Even is only looking at dismissal claims for now, Kaufman says the long-term goal is to expand the services offered. “We want to be the go-to company for many legal questions,” he says. “We want people to use our technology and our service from start to finish.”
Photo Credit: David Silverberg