World’s Largest Legal Hackathon On Track to Meet its Goal

The plan to stage the world’s largest legal hackathon, with over 10,000 participants, looks on track to achieve its goal if not exceed it, say the organisers. With five weeks to go before the 23-25 February event, the first ever Global Legal Hackathon (GLH) has attracted attention from a wide range of firms, tech companies and academic institutions around the globe.

Artificial Lawyer first announced the ambitious event 4 December 2017, and the GLH organisers, David Fisher, founder of Integra Ledger, and Aileen Schultz, quickly received interest from parties from many countries, with many more venues for the world’s biggest hackathon still in final discussion.

The multiple teams will all have one aim: to build something great using legal technology. And Fisher says that he hopes the event will cause such an impact that it ‘will shift the ‘tectonic plates’ of the legal industry’.

The project will take place simultaneously in multiple countries and cities all over the world and ‘will bring together stakeholders in the legal technology industry in an intense 51-hour sprint of legal tech education, creativity, and invention’.

Fisher added that he hopes that the total participants involved can beat the world record set by NASA for a global hackathon.

‘The largest known hackathon in any industry was organized by NASA, with approximately 14,000 participants. That’s nice company to have. That’s to say the only larger hackathon was hosted by one of the most innovative organisations in history, in one of the most cutting edge scientific industries – space!’ Fisher added.

A list of those joining in so far shows an incredible range. Below is just a sample of those already signed up:

  • First, some of the global tech and legal publishing companies: Thomson Reuters, Wolters KluwerMicrosoft and IBM are going to play a role.
  • There are teams taking part so far in 42 cities confirmed around the world, across 6 continents, with the expectation of hitting 60 cities in the next week. Several cities are also acting as ‘super hubs’ with several events taking place there, for example New York; Berlin, Germany; as well as Warsaw, Poland are in this position.
  • A range of law firms are also signing up, with US firm Orrick one of the largest to join in so far. And in Israel Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co in collaboration with Tech&Law Israel are to host the first legal hackathon in Israel, which will be held in Tel-Aviv.
  • The GLH has also attracted a wide range of law schools, not-for-profits and Bar organisations.
  • The project is also helping to drive legal innovation interest in markets that are just beginning their journey through this sector. For example, in Dubai an AI-based data protection platform called Kormoon, and a legal advice platform for the Middle East called Legal Advice Middle East, have formed a partnership to bring the Global Legal Hackathon to the UAE.

And, let’s now hear from some of the participants:

IBM, Cognitive Legal, Brian Kuhn and Shawnna Hoffman: ‘IBM has been extremely excited about the Global Legal Hackathon since it was first proposed. With the incredible advances in AI in the legal industry, now joined by blockchain technologies emerging even more quickly, there is nothing more important than engaging innovators across every aspect of the legal landscape, worldwide. IBM is very proud to be involved with the GHL on a global scale.’

Orrick, Mitch Zuklie, Chairman and CEO: ‘Law is at a tipping point in terms of innovation. Clients are demanding it and changes in technology and the workforce are enabling it. Crowdsourcing solutions globally is essential, and the Global Legal Hackathon, with its focus on both public and private sector solutions, is a shining example. We are very excited to see what comes out of it.’

Suffolk University Law School, USA, Professor Gabe Teninbaum, Director of the Institute on Legal Innovation & Technology: ‘Suffolk Law has been deeply committed to legal innovation and technology for many years. For example, we launched the nation’s first legal tech concentration for law students years ago, and recently launched a first-of-its-kind online legal tech certificate for legal professionals [and] we’re excited and pleased to support the Global Legal Hackathon as it brings the entire world of legal innovation and technology together for one weekend. Suffolk will proudly be hosting a local venue of the event in Boston.’

HM&Partners, Madalina Hagima, Bucharest, Romania: ‘We are excited to be part of such an ambitious and forward thinking global movement and honored to represent Romania right from its first edition!’

Wardynski, Poland, Krzysztof Wojdyło, Partner and Head of New Technologies Practice: ‘We believe that lawyers should increase their interest in new technologies…we were thrilled to accept the proposal to host the Warsaw edition of the Global Legal Hackathon. As co-organisers of the hackathon we will strive first and foremost to provide a meaningful contribution on substantive issues.’

Finally, some words from two of the many legal tech companies involved, starting naturally with Integra Ledger.

‘When we had the idea for the Global Legal Hackathon back in November, our vision was to connect the entire world of legal innovators in new ways. It was about discovery and community. We wanted to invite leaders and organizations that in some cases weren’t previously known in typical global legal innovation circles. And we wanted to invite all stakeholders, without regard to organization, country, or technology. We have been amazed and gratified with the overwhelming response.’

And, vLex, in partnership with Compass / vLex Canada, says that they are ‘thrilled to announce that they will be supporting the Global Legal Hackathon and the effort to spur ‘rapid development of solutions for improving the legal industry world-wide’ by offering a version of its advanced AI platform Iceberg, to event participants, which is a cloud-based Artificial Intelligence platform that allows users to create custom legal knowledge and analytics solutions.’

So, there it is. However many people eventually take part it looks like a lot of good will come from the GLH by bringing together participants from around the world, sharing knowledge and ideas, and most importantly of all inspiring people to believe they can change the legal world for good by leveraging technology. Artificial Lawyer will keep you posted as GLH grows and grows.

Note: if you would like to join in there is still time, with around five weeks to go. Details can be gained from Aileen Schultz, aileen@globallegalhackathon.com, please drop her a line.

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