In a world where access to justice and legal representation can seem like an insurmountable hurdle for many, Esosa Ohonba is leading the charge to change the narrative. As the founder of Layman, Ltd., he is revolutionizing the way individuals navigate the legal system and empowering them to take control of their rights and social justice.
Before delving into the world of entrepreneurship, Esosa had a background rooted in activism. Growing up in Houston, Texas, he developed a passion for social justice and worked in direct service and activism for various city governments and social organizations. With a master’s degree in health policy and data science, Esosa initially focused on improving health systems and making healthcare more accessible. However, he soon realized that the legal system played a significant role in perpetuating health inequalities and hindering marginalized communities.
Driven by the desire to address these systemic barriers, Esosa pursued a law degree. It was during this time that he recognized the immense potential of using the legal system as a catalyst for change. He believed that by empowering individuals to assert their rights and navigate the legal system effectively, he could tackle not only health issues but also a wide range of quality-of-life concerns faced by Americans.
This realization became the foundation of Layman, Ltd., a community legal education platform inspired by the case navigator model in human rights law. Layman leverages artificial intelligence to organize and analyze social media content, such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and LinkedIn posts, to identify legal claims. By helping individuals build their legal cases and gain a deeper understanding of the legal process, Layman aims to facilitate greater access to the court system.
Esosa’s vision for Layman extends beyond profit-making. His mission is grounded in the belief that the law is lived. This mantra, inspired by Oliver Wendell Holmes, highlights the importance of considering the lived experiences of individuals when navigating the legal system. Layman strives to be a platform that empowers people through their stories, rather than relying solely on legal professionals telling them what to do. By fostering a community-driven approach, Layman seeks to bridge the access to justice gap and promote equality within the legal system.
Personal experiences have played a crucial role in shaping Esosa’s dedication to Layman’s mission. As a person of color and a child of immigrants, he and his team have firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by marginalized communities within the legal system. They understand the need for a platform like Layman that provides accessible legal education and support, particularly for those who cannot afford legal representation. Their personal experiences drive their commitment to supporting individuals through their legal journeys.
Esosa’s unique attributes and background have contributed to his success in an industry that has historically lacked diversity. Being a person of color and a child of immigrants has given him a perspective and context that many competitors lack. His deep understanding of the systemic injustices within the legal system enables him to identify and address fundamental issues that others may overlook. This inherent empathy and nuanced perspective sets Layman apart and contributes to its potential for success.
Reflecting on his journey, Esosa shares valuable advice for his younger self and aspiring entrepreneurs. He emphasizes the importance of being both hard and soft. Having conviction and unwavering belief in one’s goals is essential to navigate the challenges and obstacles that arise. However, it is equally crucial to remain flexible and adaptable, as new information and experiences may shape the path to success. By striking a balance between determination and adaptability, entrepreneurs can stay true to their goals while embracing opportunities for growth and change.