This post was originally posted on Linkedin on 25 February 2018 and has been republished here with permission.
By Jon Lim
Starting Friday and stretching over the weekend between 23 to 25 February, the 2018 Global Legal Hackathon (GLH) was hosted by Monash University; which was selected as the sole venue in Melbourne for the event. This was an auspicious occasion; marking the first instance of the event being hosted at Monash University, and the first large-scale function conducted at its newly constructed Learning and Teaching Building at its Clayton Campus. While Monash University hosted the Melbourne venue of the hackathon, it collaborated with various institutions based in 40 different cities worldwide to challenge over 5,000 participants to solve its “Hadfield Challenges”; a series of 10 problems worth solving in relation to access to justice, administration of justice, and consumer rights.
While initial interest in the GLH was high, as over 177 people were recorded has having registered, only roughly around 50 people managed to attend and actively participate in the event. Among the participants of the GLH at Monash University included people from a variety of backgrounds; including students and professionals from law, IT, bio-medicine and Arts backgrounds. Participants were generally divided into 11 teams of 6 or less people; which facilitated a diversity of thought and concepts within the range of exceptional solutions devised.
Having commended at 5 pm on Friday and ceased at 3.30pm Sunday; contestants labored for a total of 46.5 hours under the influence of copious amounts of coffee and red bull. Having access to the new world-class facilities at Monash, and the guidance and advice of mentors from both the government and private sectors, participants were able to brainstorm a variety of novel solutions This included a foundational Blockchain technology designed to detect payment discrepancies, an educational tool designed to simplify document review for students and academics conducting legal research, a website providing consolidated mental health solutions for legal professionals, to an augmented reality mobile app designed to better engage with legal clientele and provide bespoke legal solutions. In attendance to judge the GLH included:
- Chris Humphreys – Director, Civil Law Policy, Department of Justice, Victoria
- Michael Dodge – Partner, Arnold Bloch Leibler
- Julian Uebergang – Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Neota Logic
- Professor Bryan Horrigan – Dean, Faculty of Law, Monash University
- Marco Misko – Partner, Clayton Utz
The proclaimed winners of the event was Platform Legal, piquing the interest of the judges with their unique subscription based solution to link universities, community legal centers and law students together; to facilitate greater access to justice for the community while providing students with the practical legal experience necessary to become capable legal professionals.
In his closing address Professor Bryan Horrigan expressed his profound amazement and interest in the outside perspectives and effort contributed by all participants in solving the crucial and pressing legal and technology issues. While regretful of the difficult decisions the judging panel was confronted with in selecting the sole winner, Professor Horrigan extended the support of Monash University to further support the work of the various teams should they seek to advance their ideas to the next level.
In summary, the GLH proved to be an exclusive opportunity for students and professionals to engage, connect, and collaborate with peoples from a variety of backgrounds; while also being an education experience for those unfamiliar with the areas of law and technology. It is hoped that Monash University will continue to support the GLH in 2019; to maintain its engagement with students and professionals, and continue in its contribution to the global debate and conversation concerning pivotal questions surrounding access to justice, administration of justice, and consumer rights.
Where the best way to predict your future is to create it; the future of the legal industry looks to be in capable hands.
About Jon Lim
Mr. Jonathan Lim is a current Graduate Diploma of Legal Practices student with The Australian National University, and is a Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) graduate with Monash University. He has previously published with Room – The Space Journal, the Australian Institute of International Affairs, the Young Diplomats Society, Monash TechUp Law Journal, and Young Australians in International Affairs. His professional career ambitions include international law and technology; with a particular interest in International Space Law.