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Five Canadian cities to participate in Global Legal Hackathon

Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 10:25 AM | By Amanda Jerome

Legal professionals and tech companies from across the globe will be banding together for a three-day hackathon that is meant to break down silos and encourage the creation of solutions to improve the legal industry worldwide.

The first annual Global Legal Hackathon will take place Feb. 23-25 and will engage 40 host cities across 20 countries. The event will bring together law schools, law firms, in-house departments, legal tech companies, governments and service providers to the legal industry to generate rapid development solutions.

Canadian cities involved in the event are Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

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Aileen Schultz, Integra Ledger

According to Aileen Schultz, the director of network intelligence at Integra Ledger and co-founder of the event with Integra’s CEO David Fisher, the hackathon will be a truly global experience.

“Several locations have already reached capacity. The Brazilian locations reached capacity three to four weeks ago,” she said.

“It’s actually phenomenal to see some of the things that are coming out of the host locations,” she added.

Schultz and Fisher were inspired to create a global hackathon for the legal profession after attending a hackathon event in New York. Schultz said the event was not legal-centric, but by the end of the hackathon all the winning teams were using Integra Ledger, which is a legal blockchain platform.

“So a non-legal hackathon became a legal hackathon by the end. Legal became a central theme of that hackathon. We got to wondering and we wanted to know what is the interest in something like this at a global scale? Is legal innovation at that time now where it can be at the forefront of conversations about technological advancement? That was really where it started,” explained Schultz.

The legal hackathon’s ultimate goal, Schultz said, is to create true legal solutions worldwide.

“Traditionally hackathons are largely just discussion based and the intent is always to build solutions. Often what happens is that after the weekend teams break apart and things fizzle out. So we really hope that teams will go on to create actual businesses and organizations, non-profits, and continue with their ideas. As well as building a global community for legal innovation,” she said.  

“Traditionally things are incredibly siloed and we’re hoping to build a platform and community that is global and has all of the right stakeholders involved to make a truly global discussion about innovation in the law,” she added.

According to Schultz, the hackathon will happen in three rounds. Each host city will have its own judging panel, which will decide on the winning team for the first round on Feb. 25. The winning teams will advance to the second round, which will be conducted online on a global scale. The teams that advance past the second round will go on to participate in the last round, which will be held on April 21 in New York.

“It’s an opportunity for teams and participants to tap into that global conversation and community,” she said, adding that most jurisdictions around the world don’t have the opportunity to engage on such a large scale.

Schultz explained that this event is also a way for legal professionals to connect with other driven people in their industry that can match their ideas and build upon them together as a team.

“It’s important to note that each location has their own spin on everything. So people signing up are going to want to make sure that they’re in tune with their local host location. To make sure they know the specifics of that location,” she added.

Canada’s host locations: Miller Thomson LLP and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver; Miller Thomson in Calgary; Dentons in Toronto; vLex LLC, Investment Ottawa, Compass, and the University of Ottawa in the nation’s capital; as well as the University of Quebec at Montreal.

The Lawyer’s Daily is a Media Partner of the Global Legal Hackathon with full editorial discretion.