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Global Legal Hackathon 2020: a complete guide

The Global Legal Hackathon 2020 is bringing together legal minds and innovators across the globe! To collaboratively innovate solutions to the most pressing legal, regulatory, and civil society challenges. Especially those posed by the COVID-19 crisis that is currently engulfing the world.

What is the Global Legal Hackathon?

The Global Legal Hackathon is the world’s largest legal hackathon, which takes place annually. It piques the interest of every ‘modern day law enthusiast’. By modern day law enthusiast, I mean not only the lawyers. But also all the technologists, data scientists, legaltech entrepreneurs and industrialistss as well. Mark Cohen (of Forbes) aptly described the goal of this community as “forging a culture that is transparent, collaborative, diverse, cross-border, data-driven, problem solving, tech and process centric, diverse, inter-disciplinary, merit-centric, flat, pedigree-agnostic, and innovative.” This growing need of a platform to collaborate for solving global legal issues is answered by the Global Legal Hackathon.

Several organizations across the globe have come together to provide a platform. A stage for collaborative solution finding. To address some of the most pressing legal problems, in the form of the annual Global Legal Hackathon. It usually takes place in various locations around the world spread across a couple of weeks. Consequentially, it witnesses the best thinkers, doers and practitioners in law. Who come together to work toward a unified vision. That of rapid development of solutions to improve the legal industry on a global scale.

(Source: Global Legal Hackathon)

The 2019 edition witnessed participation strength of 6000+. It was hosted across 46 cities and the finale was held on 4th May 2019 in New York. 12 teams presented their solutions in front of an esteemed panel comprising of international judges. 3 teams won the title of ‘winning solution’:

  • Uthority from Frankfurt (facilitating access to justice)
  • Legal Shapers from Romania (improving the business of law)
  • InteliLex from Poland (a tool to aid lawyers in finding relevant information)

The 2020 Hackathon is taking place from 27th April to 17th May 2020. In light of the pandemic,  it will be conducted digitally.

Phases of the Global Legal Hackathon 2020

  • Phase 1: Organizations from every country are invited. To submit urgent challenges that they have identified, which may relate to their industry, their country, or the world.
  • Phase 2: Participants in the hackathon will then form teams to develop solutions to the challenges. Professionals, software developers, designers and other experts will come together to form teams to collaboratively work on the challenges. They will be given a three-week duration. To collaboratively do market research, design a solution, develop a proof of concept, and build a prototype or working solution.
  • Phase 3: These solutions will then be made available for public review at the conclusion of the event.
  • Phase 4: Law firms, businesses, industry bodies, governments, not-for-profit organizations, private individuals then have an option. To elect to offer support and resources to advance the solutions developed by various teams. They will move from prototype solutions to working models.
  • Phase 5: A selection of solutions from the Global Legal Hackathon 2020 will be showcased. In the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Programme in June. This will involve case studies and summaries written by Financial Times journalists and RSG Consulting.

Guidelines for participation

  • There is no cost attached to this Hackathon. There is no financial request or commitment associated with contributing a challenge or participating in the Hackathon. At the same time, there are no monetary rewards associated with being selected for showcasing
  • All the intellectual property developed during the course of this Hackathon will remain with the original owner / inventor. It will neither be transferred to the organization posing a challenge nor to the organizers or sponsors of the Global Legal Hackathon
  • The Hackathon is technology-agnostic. As a result, participating teams can use any software or technologies to develop their solutions. However, solutions do not need to be technology solutions
  • Participants can register here. Firstly they have to complete registration. Secondly, they will be able to found a project related to one of the listed challenges. Alternatively, they may request to join another project team. The organizers will provide participants with access to resources. They include business and technical tutorials, guides, and training resources. On how to develop and present solutions, and how to collaborate remotely.
  • At the end of the Hackathon, each team will be given 5 minutes. To present their pitch + links to the prototypes they have developed

The overall objective is to harness the collective capability, energy and innovation of the world’s legal industry. And use this to support communities, governments, and industries during this global emergency.

Also read: out of court settlement moves online in India

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About author

Namita Shah is the co-founder of Presolv360, a legal-tech company focused on out-of-court civil dispute resolution. She is a CA (gold medalist), CPA and LLB. She has also studied cyber-crime management from the 'Asian School of Cyber Laws'. Namita has been recognized among the Top 60 of the ‘Women Transforming India, 2018’ initiative by the Government of India. She recently graduated (top 5) from the ‘Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Foundation’, run in association with Niti Aayog and IIT.
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