About Us

Our mission is to bring financial inclusion to the legal system to fill the Access to Justice Gap.​

Our purpose is to build the legal industry's first Legal Fee Loan products that change the lives of legal consumers and business owners who, until now, could not find financing options to secure legal representation when facing legal emergencies or critical legal matters.

Our strategy is to reinvent the outdated lawyer procurement and payment experience and drive the legal industry's adoption of financial technology, digital lending, real-time invoicing, real-time payments, and instant fee financing at the point of service.  


Our Story

We understand over 150 million middle-class Americans live paycheck to paycheck making too much income to qualify for legal aid but still can't afford legal services. The legal system works well for the rich but remains inaccessible to most people. LawFi is working to fill this gap for the people in the middle.  

LawFi aims to ensure everyone can access the legal system through affordable and accessible legal services, regardless of their situation or net worth.

LawFi was born out of this burning desire to make the legal system more financially inclusive, fair, and accessible for all.  

Our founder's own personal experiences drove this desire. He grew up in a hardworking lower-middle-income family. He watched his parents struggle to keep the lights on and food on the table. He barely made ends meet while putting himself through school and raising a son he had when he was young. He consistently fought the credit bureaus to maintain and improve his credit score.

Our founder's business experience and personal legal matter experiences include numerous civil and complex litigation cases and transactional matters. He has been both the Plaintiff or Defendant in legal actions. He was not able to sue large out-of-state vendors who owed him money in collection actions because he couldn't afford the cost of legal representation. He faced a constant threat of lawyers withdrawing from cases if he couldn't afford to pay a large invoice or the costs to defend or prosecute his case. He couldn't afford representation in his divorce or child custody matters or foreclosures and was often at the mercy of the court. In some instances, he could not afford the required retainer to secure legal representation to protect his rights or interests.

In business-related, corporate, intellectual property, employment, real estate, regulatory, and administrative law areas, he could not pursue certain contracts, partnerships, merger transactions, and other opportunities because he couldn't afford the related legal fees and costs. ​

His professional experience serving as a trusted law firm merger consultant for over 30 years placed him in the unique position to fully understand the pain points of both lawyers and their legal clients.

Our founder commented: "LawFi is the solution I always wanted to build to solve these problems."

Meet The Team

LawFi 's highly experienced leadership team comprises a carefully selected group of outstanding founders and entrepreneurs with extensive backgrounds in legal industry consulting, operations, and human resources; Point of Sale ("POS") and Buy-Now-Pay-Later ("BNPL") digital lending; fintech; banking; credit; financial and lending compliance; real-time payments; capital markets; credit risk; data science; AI/ML; network and cloud engineering; software development; and marketing. LawFi's team is supported by an outstanding legal team at Morrison Foerster and expert fintech lending advisors. The entire LawFi team shares a vision and passion for bringing financial inclusion to the legal system and making it more accessible to all.

Steven Highfill, CPC
Founder & CEO

Steven founded LawFi out of his burning desire to make the legal system more financially inclusive, fair, and accessible for all. His professional experience serving as a trusted law firm consultant for over 30 years placed him in the unique position to fully understand the pain points of both lawyers and their clients. Steven is a visionary technologies integrator creating innovative ways to deliver and access legal services that disrupt the status quo. He is inventing an entirely new class of loan assets called “Legal Fee Loans” and is building the first-of-its-kind Legal Fee Financing platform. He is integrating the best open finance, banking, credit, employment, and lending technologies with more inclusive and unique data sources to underwrite and create the world’s first consumer and business legal fee loans and a proprietary legal fee credit decision engine.  

As an expert recruiter, he is building a strong and experienced team to launch LawFi across America. He thoroughly understands the legal industry, law firm structure, operations, and hierarchy. He understands the self-governing bar association rules and structure across all jurisdictions. He is a former Stockbroker and Investment Banker with the knowledge and skill to properly structure LawFi and raise needed capital. He is an experienced and successful platform builder having leveraged an artificial intelligent deep web search crawler to create the largest online aggregation of legal job content until its technology was purchased by Monster.com. He is very passionate about combining cutting-edge technologies with innovative, smart, and motivated development and operational teams, management, and stakeholder groups. Steven is setting the vision and strategy for the development of LawFi and its rollout in all 50 states. Steven holds a Certificate in FinTech from Harvard University and a CPC designation.

Tyler Heun
Advisor & Head of Payments

Founder, The Payment Prodigy
Tyler Heun has extensive experience working with merchants and partners to solve some of their most challenging problems through payments innovation. He collaborates with some of the world's most sophisticated partners and merchants to leverage technology to optimize their payments ecosystem. He formerly served as VP of Payments and Treasury Services Sales at JP Morgan Chase & Co, Director, Global Accounts: Platforms & Digital Goods at PayPal, and Head of Partnerships at Link Money. He is an advisor for PaymentsEd, PayCLT, RevTech Labs, and Chaiz, and he is an active member of the Merchant Risk Council, Merchant Advisory Group, Electronic Transaction Association, and Merchant Payments Coalition. Tyler has an MBA from the University of Denver, and a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Nebraska.

Barry Rafferty
Head of Capital Markets

CFO Americor
Barry Rafferty is the Chief Financial Officer at Americor, the leading provider of consumer credit, debt, and lending solutions. He is also the former Head of Capital Markets at Achieve (Freedom Financial Asset Management), Upstart, and OneMain. He is an experienced Capital Market Head with a demonstrated history of scaling asset management strategies, loan originators, and selling large legacy businesses in consumer finance. He is skilled in credit portfolio management, securitization, conduits, treasury, and fixed income. Barry is a University of Pittsburgh postgraduate in mathematical finance and holds his Master’s in Economics and a B.S. in financial mathematics from the University at Buffalo.

Tom Bruce
Fractional Chief Credit Officer & Advisor

VP of Credit Bank Strategy, Affirm
Tom is the former VP of Credit Bank Strategy at Affirm, and the former Chief Credit Officer of First Electronic Bank. Tom has extensive experience and expertise in developing and implementing credit policies, models, decision engines, and underwriting criteria. He has overseen risk management and risk-based pricing of loan products and managed loan portfolios for a market-leading POS fintech lender, a bank with multiple fintech lending partners, and GE Capital Corporation. He holds a Master of Business Administration in Accounting from Devry University and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from California State University-Fullerton.

Werner Kruger
Fractional Chief Data Officer & Advisor

SVP of Risk & Data, Grover
Werner currently leads risk and data for Grover, a global consumer electronics and technology rental company. Werner is a Founder and former Chief Data Officer of Bloom, London’s premiere digital e-commerce and recurring revenue lender to SMBs, the former VP of Data Science for Klarna, one of the oldest and largest Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) companies in the world, former VP of Data Science and CCO of Monese, one of the UK’s first digital bank account providers, and the former Head of Data Science for the 159-year-old Standard Bank Group, Johannesburg, serving 20 countries in Africa. Werner is a technologist who loves to solve business problems and lead teams todo the same. Werner holds a Master of Science in WebScience & Big Data from the University of Liverpool and a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Pretoria/Universiteit van Pretoria in South Africa.

Eugene Pratesenia
Platform Product Advisor

Founder & President, Armada Labs
Eugene Pratesenia is an entrepreneurial leader with a proven record of starting and growing several businesses for the last 19 years. He is the Founder and owner at Armada Labs, a software development company. Armada Labs specializes in software development services for the Financial Services and Fintech Industries using their deep understanding of the intricacies of this industry. This differentiates Armada from other service providers, as they bring not only technical expertise but also a first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by clients in the space. Eugene holds a B.S. in International Business.

Daemon Whittenburg
Advisor & Head of Product Engineering

Founder, SherpaCTO
Daemon Whittenburg is a proven effective technology leader with experience as a CTO, VP of Engineering, Director of Product Development, Tech Lead, Architect, and Software Engineer building industry-leading software solutions. He is passionate about raising expectations, increasing urgency, and solving difficult problems. Daemon is an experienced leader of talented managers and engineering teams of up to 70+ team members including full-time and onshore/offshore talent including Product Managers, Business Analysts, Engineers, Architects, QA, Test Automation, Scrum Masters, Dev Managers, DevOps, and Security professionals. Daemon holds a B.A.Sc. in Computer Science and a Masters in Computer Science from the University of West Georgia.

Rick Bachman, MBA, CRCM
Fractional Chief Compliance Officer & Advisor

Founder & Managing Member, ScaleConsulting
Rick has helped some of the best-known Fintech firms and challenger banks establish their compliance programs. He works with clients and their partner banks to build the controls and compliance culture necessary for continued success. His clients include household names such as Chime, Mercury, Brex, GoodMoney, One, Gusto, Orum, Point, and many others. At last count, over 100 firms have trusted Rick to set them in the right direction with their programs.

Randy Schmidt, JD
Advisor, Business Development

Sr. Vice President, Alchemy
Randy Schmidt is a 20-year veteran of the finance industry. He has enabled sustained growth through collaborative leadership and a tenacious approach to solving challenges. As a former lawyer, he brings a deep knowledge of compliance and legal vertical experience to the team and emphasizes accountability in his relationships with industry peers and clients. The thrill of chasing new opportunities is what drives his professional accomplishments. At Alchemy, he partners with banks, financial services, and Fintech organizations to help them quickly meet today’s market demands in the digital lending space. Randy holds a Juris Doctor degree from Widener University Commonwealth Law School.  

Cathy Kenton
Fractional CMO & Legal

CEO & Founder, Legal Tech Media Group
Drawing upon more than 30 years of experience in the legal vertical, Cathy Kenton helps legal tech companies make strategic marketing and business development decisions. She works with clients to increase market share and successfully deliver their products and services to appropriate market segment(s). With first-hand experience leading change inside legal tech companies, and decades of success selling products and services to legal departments, lawyers, and law firms, she helps legal tech executives avoid pitfalls, generate internal buy-in, turn strategies into action, and generate measurable ROI. Cathy is a UCLA alumnus and holds a Paralegal Certificate from the ABA-approved University of San Diego School of Law program.

Qaiser Imtiaz
Chief Architect

Solutions Architect - Telco, Optus
Qaiser Imtiaz is a Senior IT Architect specializing in medium to large-scale Solution Architecture and Design, Development, Support, and Maintenance of Enterprise Application projects. He has diverse experience across multiple multinational organizations. He has in-depth knowledge and experience across Integration environments, DevOps, and Information Technology working in integration, IaaS, PaaS, web services, and middleware. He is an expert in Integration /API Solutions Architecture and has been called upon to integrate complex middleware systems with propriety applications, using message queues and API with the middleware and web applications. Qaiser holds a Master of Computer Science from the International Islamic University, Islamabad.

Faraz Rana
Fintech Advisor

Co-Founder/CEO, Affinity
Faraz Rana is a former member of the founding team at Bread, an innovative leader in POS payments and Buy-Now-Pay-Later financing. Bread sold in a successful $500M exit to a financial institution in late 2020. As part of his six-year journey, he managed day-to-day corporate matters as the Chief Legal Officer. His responsibilities included product work, bank partnerships, debt and equity capital raising, scaling internal operations, and building and managing bank-grade legal and compliance. Prior to Bread, he was a Private Equity/M&A attorney at a large global law firm. Faraz graduated from the University of Virginia and Cornell Law School.

Martin Evin, MBA

Advisor & Fractional Head, Law Firm Billing Solutions
Martin brings over 20 years of law firm administrator, legal billing, collections, and revenue management experience to the LawFi team. In his most recent role at Lewis Brisbois, a firm of more than 1350 lawyers, he led one of the country's largest law firm billing teams. During his tenure, Lewis Brisbois saw the most significant revenue growth, boosting it five places, to 66th, after gross revenue increased by 17.20 percent to $552 million in 2018 and according to the ABA Journal, "The largest gain in gross revenue—16.3%—was posted by Lewis Brisbois in 2019". Martin provides an “outside the box” solution to everyday challenges by building strong, diverse, inclusive, and equitable teams. He spent his career empowering and building cross-functional teams designed for success.

Martin is an expert in law firm e-billing systems and automation to improve efficiency through technology. He will help lead the development and implementation of LawFi's cutting-edge legal billing solutions, legal fee financing, and payment solutions to enhance law firm profitability, cash flow, and the delivery of high-quality legal services.

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