Legal-Based Hackathon Launches New Technology
Jake Askew – Cannon Ventures
Hackathons have been launching across the globe at an ever-increasing rate, providing opportunities for software developers and others involved in technology development to collaborate on projects that solve problems. Usually consisting of a multi-day workshop in which individuals break into teams and compete against each other to win the approval of a panel of judges, these events generally have a specific theme or focus centered on problem solving in today’s world using new technologies. Themes can vary from utilizing an innovative platform like blockchain, supporting a movement like mental illness awareness, or even just working to develop a brand new app that solves a problem previously not considered.
Global Legal Hackathon (GLH) is a non-profit entity that organizes legal groups across the globe. Since launching, GLH has hosted over 6,000 participants in 24 different countries. Their goal for these events is to bring together people under a unified vision to develop solutions that improve the legal industry. Last weekend GLH hosted over 5,000 hackathons across the world and each location had a winner that will then moved onto the next round.
The Houston branch manager for the Global Legal Hackathon is Internetbar.org Institute (IBO). IBO organizes, gathers mentors, manages, and provides support for all legal hackathons in Houston. Christy Leos, the Director of Operations of IBO, described their mission as an “aim to support those who need critical help more efficiently, and change processes that no longer serve the people.”
The President of IBO, Jeff Aresty, expanded on this mission:
“Like previous generations, we too must rely upon failed justice institutions and laws to protect those who are excluded from society, protect the climate, and eradicate poverty. In the meantime, the online society which now amounts to over half the world, is dominated by everyone else in civil society who are engaging in all kinds of online activity that may connect us with each other – but do very little to effectively bring fairness and freedom to us all.”
The Cannon was proud to host last weekend’s Houston chapter of the GLH. Students, technologists, lawyers, mentors, and judges of all ages and backgrounds packed the space Saturday and Sunday. By the end of the hackathon, the winning team had developed a tool to assist lawyers in visualizing eDiscovery data, combined with the information used to manage the movement of that data through the EDRM process.
As Hackathons continue to grow in both size and frequency, their modern creative solutions to today’s problems also grow. Moving forward, IBO hopes to continue to go where the problems are. They are already planning to host an access to justice hackathon by the end of the year where Aresty hopes to continue the progress made over the weekend, sharing with the group that “their actions can help us reinvent how we make laws and devise a social contract that brings access to justice for all.” More events like last weekend’s are certainly a step in the right direction of this ambitious but much needed goal.
If you’re interested in Internetbar and participating in events like this in the future, please visit – http://internetbar.org/membership.