The second annual Global Legal Hackathon took place this last weekend, February 22nd to 24th, with 6,000 participants in 46 cities all over the world, from Adelaide to San Francisco, spending 52 hours focusing on developing solutions for improving the legal industry. This is by far the world’s largest legal tech innovation event, bringing together legal professionals, software developers, IT professionals, students and entrepreneurs to collaborate and explore the process of legal design and to reinvent law together.
In his opening remarks at the New York event, the founder of it all, David Fisher, explained how the idea came about when talking to Richard Tromans, Artificial Lawyer, about how the legal world’s need to come together to solve problems and build what needs to exist, but is held back by silos and legal organisations not working together.
Therefore, the organisers wanted to create a global platform for everyone to come together and share legal tech ideas and get inspiration.
This year, the event also had an extra focus on the lack of women in the legal tech world and launched the Global Rise Of Women in LegalTech initiative (GROWL). This initiative was an integral part all through the event, aiming to support up-and-coming women leaders in legal innovation around the world.
Learn more about the GROWL initiative in this Legal Talk Network On The Road episode where host Kimberly Sully talks to Heather McAuliffe, Anna McGrane, and Clare Godson about GROWL and what it means to women in the legal industry: Global Legal Hackathon 2019 GROWL
The event started off with a lightning round of 60-second pitches. All of the participants then formed into teams around the pitches or their own ideas, after which the weekend-long innovation sprint commenced.
From Friday evening to Sunday, the teams worked through the night and day to create a working prototype of their technology innovation, with branding, a website, social media and real world customer feedback.
Some of the solutions worked on at the New York event was a bot to automate negotiations, passive blockchain for smart contracts, a derivatives regulatory solution, an app to help with career goals and counseling, Apple wallet for privacy consent, Wiki violence reports and DLT for inventor ownership.
There was so much creativity and innovation going on you could feel it in the air! The weekend was so inspiring and it was such a privilege to be a part of this and to get to meet so many brilliant participants and fellow GROWL mentors.
Here is the Team Femme LeGAL working to create a legal education solution in mobile platforms through gamification of legal information with the help of GROWL mentor Vishal Agnihotri, CKO Hinshaw & Culbertson.
This great solution, that empowers women entrepreneurs in developing countries who want to start a business, eventually won second place in the Sunday final.
Another great solution that competed in the New York hackathon, was the GetSecu.re app created by the team with the same name consisting of Alexander Perry, Edgar Gonzalez and London Özcan Atıl. GetSecu.re allows you to reliably confirm the identity of attorneys by using multi-step verification to tie their identity to their Bar Card registry information on blockchain.
This verified identity then provides a central hub for encrypted and confirmed electronic communications and linking data, files, transactions, and interactions to an immutable decentralized blockchain source.
It was so impressive talking to Alexander and Edgar and their visions for this solution. In the future, this process is aimed to have widespread functionality that is applicable to all languages, regions, and fields. It will provide both access to justice and minimise the risks for fraud for a very vulnerable group of users.
Overall, many of the solutions at the New York event seemed to have a very clear pro bono and access to justice-focus, not just wanting to improve the legal industry as such, but actually wanting to change the world. All this altruism sure gives you hope for the future!
On Sunday, all the teams presented their solutions to a panel of judges. It must have been such a tough decision for the judges to name a winner among all the impressive presentations, but eventually these three solutions were announced for the first to third place:
NYC winner: Team Classify – Shivam Satyarthi and Bliss Hu
This application processes a person’s financial data and from there scans to see if they have purchased items that are eligible for a settlement from a class action lawsuit. It then use Integra to verify the validity of the document and purchase history before sending out the document. The user is then compensated, but the solution provider takes a share of the settlement in exchange for sending the document and providing the money instantaneously.
NYC 2nd place: Femme LeGal
This soluction uses gamification of legal information and resources to empower users to understand legal issues on a mobile-based, global platform. Learn more about it in this Legal Talk Network On The Road episode: Global Legal Hackathon 2019 Femme LeGal
NYC 3rd place: The Contract App
With this app, you only have to spend five minutes to answer questions in a form on your smartphone to receive back a fully negotiated and executed contract that also gets hashed on a blockchain, with no pre-work, setup or configuration. Additionally, it provides an electronic playbook that knows how you want your company’s contracts negotiated, that can be reused to save even more time on your next contract and across your organization’s contracts. All of this at a cost that is less than what you pay for lunch.
Learn more from these three awarded solutions here: Legal Talk Network On The Road GLH 2019 Pitching to Win
The winner from the NYC event then proceeded to the global semi-finals where virtual presentations were conducted around the world. The final winner will then be announced at the global finals gala and awards ceremony in May.
The Global Legal Hackathon seems to have been a huge success around the world, creating a platform for creativity, innovation and networking that will continue to grow and improve the legal industry world-wide. (Read for example about the London event in this great article by Richard Tromans, Artificial Lawyer: GLH London: Problem Solving, Jimi Hendrix + Freshfields Interview.) It will be so exciting to follow up on the solutions and ideas to see what becomes of them onward.
By bringing together the best thinkers, doers and practitioners in law, there is really no end to the scope of the innovation possible. One example is the GROWL mentors in New York starting to discuss the overuse of vendor swag at conferences and deciding to launch an eco-friendly professional conference campaign, #gagtheswag, where vendors and attendees pledge to not provide or take any conference swag and ask that conferences ban swag from their events.
Anna McGrane, Cofounder, PacerPro, and Shruti Cogny, CEO, KnomAI, announced the #gagtheswag initiative at the GLH final, where the benefits (to cut the carbon footprint produced by conference swag, reduce waste and encourage a focus on meaningful conversations with vendors at conferences) was warmly received.
More information about the #gagtheswag initiative to come!