Quote of the Week

“ ... If you’re trying to improve the legal system from an outside perspective, imagine that there are no lawyers at all — and no law firms — and then ask, how would you go about solving the problem? Because that way, you stop thinking about how you get lawyers to change, since that’s not really the point of the exercise. The point is to start thinking about how we can get closer to a workable legal system than we were the day before. Focus less on the enablers of the system, and more on the users of the system and ultimately, on the system itself.” (Jordan Furlong)

Global Legal Hackathon – A Recap

Over the weekend, I participated in the Global Legal Hackathon, an event which attracted over 5,000 people in 40 cities around the world. The event brought lawyers, developers and other professionals together to build solutions for either private benefit or public benefit. The event culminated on Sunday evening with a five-minute pitch to judges. Participants were expected to build working solutions or prototypes over the weekend and to demonstrate them as part of the pitch.

One winner was crowned in each participating city. A full list of the winning ideas is available here. Unsurprisingly, many of the proposed solutions featured blockchain, artificial intelligence and chat bots (and in some cases, all three). The winning team from the Toronto chapter of the Global Legal Hackathon was ‘Trademark Pro.’ You can read more about their idea here.

As reported by The U.K.’s Law Society Gazette, there were a number of very interesting solutions proposed by the London teams.

  • The winning team created a blockchain system to allow law firm partners to anonymously vote on internal innovation initiatives in real time.
  • The runner-up team created a chatbot that leverages natural language processing to offer guidance to unrepresented parties who are going through the divorce process.
  • Another team produced a chatbot for GDPR compliance, something that could be particularly helpful given the potential for massive penalties for GDPR breaches once GDPR comes into force in May of this year.

All in all, the event showcased the passion around the world for building solutions to improve access to justice and provide more affordable and elegant solutions for lawyers and their clients. Lawyers can avoid technology at their own peril, but there is little doubt that the world is evolving, as are the alternatives to the traditional delivery of legal service.