Jon talks with Steven Lefkoff, Founder at Small Claims Academy. Small Claims Academy products provide individuals and businesses with various products and tools to master small claims court.
Lefkoff, a native and resident of Atlanta suburb Sandy Springs, graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in finance and from the University of Georgia School of Law. For other practices and his own – Lefkoff Law, LLC, which he founded in 2017 – Lefkoff has spent countless hours in small claims courtrooms. Early in his professional career, he watched a plaintiff who was not his client lose a breach of contract case she should have easily won because she didn’t know the court rules, didn’t have the right documents and didn’t follow the judge’s orders.
“Too many people show up to court without the ball, and they expect to win the game without the ball,” Lefkoff said. “Gavel allows people to be prepared and ready for small claims courts. “All of this advice stems from me being in the courtroom. It takes that knowledge to understand the way the court system works. That’s why it will give such benefit to users.” Lefkoff had time to develop Gavel – and produce the dozens of tutorial videos – after Coronavirus shut down in-person court activity for months.
Lefkoff said other attorneys are especially excited about Gavel because it will allow them to easily answer questions for their current clients regarding small claims courts. “It doesn’t take away any business from attorneys,” Lefkoff said. “Now when someone calls with these questions, they have a quick answer for them. They think it’s a great idea for consumers, but also for attorneys.”
Lefkoff is starting the platform in his home state of Georgia, which has 159 small claims courts – one for every county – and 333 magistrate judges. They oversee hundreds of thousands of cases each year, Lefkoff said. Lefkoff plans to expand to other states – possibly in the Southeast first, but to be determined overall – once Gavel gains traction in Georgia. The program’s videos will have to be modified for each state during the expansion as each state has different laws and proceedings for small claims courts.
Lefkoff, 34, comes from an entrepreneurial family. His grandfathers were an ENT doctor who started his own practice and a home builder who launched a business. Lefkoff’s father owns a bankruptcy attorney practice. Lefkoff’s younger brother, Ryan created the graphics for Gavel through his digital company, Radical Design. One of Lefkoff’s uncles own a landscaping business, while another is a plastic surgeon who runs a practice. An aunt owned a veterinary practice. Lefkoff’s 7-year-old son just started a business that makes lanyards for people’s masks. “I’ve always been surrounded by entrepreneurs,” Lefkoff said.
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