Lawyers meet coders to further the business of law at the Global Legal Hackathon

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Next month the third Global Legal Hackathon is happening over the weekend of 6-8 March. Back in 2018 40 cities joined in simultaneously across 6 continents. In 2019 we had 47 cities, and this year there will be over 50 maybe even 60 cities involved. We aim to make it bigger, better, and even more fun. First a disclosure – I’ve been part of the organising team since the start. Actually the idea for this event was formed when Brian Kuhn, who at the time ran IBM’s Watson Legal business, met David Fisher, CEO of Integra Ledger, at a workshop Rob Millard of Cambridge Strategy Group and I ran back in 2017. Rob and I have hosted the London edition ever since, with a lot of help from our friends, sponsors and the University of Westminster. This is a not for profit event, free to enter for the participants, with our sponsors covering the cost of some prizes, as well as lunches, evening meals, soft drinks, coffee, tea, beer and wine. A hackathon wouldn’t be a hackathon without beer and pizza!

Is a hackathon with lawyers going to work?

We know that the legal profession has a reputation for being conservative and corporate across all sizes of firms, but like every industry sector the profession is facing the need to digitally transform and reinvent (in our terms, to become a Mutable Business™). New approaches, new uses of technology and, more than anything, new business models are required. Every firm has a position on embracing cloud and mobile technologies, but automation in general and Artificial Intelligence in particular should figure prominently in many plans. This Hackathon is all about getting our best legal brains and innovators in a big room with smart marketers, designers and coders to collaborate, feed off each other, experiment, and come up with fresh ideas, cool apps and new ways to interact with clients. It worked like that in 2018 and 2019 with some great ideas and a lot of fun!

What’s the objective?

To progress the business of law, or to facilitate access to the law for the public. Ideas will be pitched on the Friday evening, and teams of 3-10 will form to work over the weekend to create an app or a service. We expect ideas using technologies like AI, Machine Learning, Chatbots, Blockchain, or the Internet of Things. Our 5 judges will deliberate and pick the winning team for London. That team will enter the virtual semi-finals with all the winners from the other cities on 22 March where 10 teams will be chosen to compete in the grand final in London on 16 May (venue to be confirmed).

#GLH2020 London is bigger and better

The London stream of the Global Legal Hackathon (GLH) is being co-hosted by Cambridge Strategy Group, Agile Elephant and our venue is kindly provided by the University of Westminster, Marylebone Campus at 35 Marylebone Street, near Baker Street station.

All of the details, latest news and how to register are at: LegalHackathon.London and follow #GLH2020 with #London on social media.

Who is involved?

GLH London has only just opened registrations. Last year there were teams from LexisNexis, Pinsent Masons, Vodafone, and Hult International Business School along with involvement Thomson Reuters, Said Business School, Oxford university, City University, South Bank University and more.

Two of our five judges are on board – Jeanette Nicholas, Deputy Head of Westminster Law School, and Chris Grant, Head of Legal Tech at Barclays.

This year our sponsors are Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, and White & Case with Global Sponsors to be announced shortly. The Law Society, Disruptive.Live and Techcelerate are supporting us.

How can you get involved in the GLH?

  • Hacker teams and team members – Anyone involved in the law, interested in the law, involved in technology for the law, developers, marketers, graphic designers, app designers from any industry sector who want to join the fun. We know some law firms will submit teams, and new teams will form on the first evening around a great idea at the GLH.
  • Helpers – We need volunteers over the weekend to make it happen and keep everyone happy.
  • Mentors – We need subject matter experts and technologists who can mentor the teams over the weekend to help crystallise their ideas, challenge them, or keep them on track.
  • Judges – We’ve got 3 great judges, but we need to find 2 more.
  • Sponsors – As well as the venue we will be providing food and drinks, name tags, other supplies as well as prizes. This is a ‘not for profit’ exercise for the hosts, but we need to cover our costs.

We think this is going to be something special. What happens when you get a bunch of lawyers, coders, designers, consultants and marketing types with their laptops and cloud platforms together over a weekend? Please come and join us and find out!