Creating Innovative Legal Technologies: BYU Law Hosts the Global Legal Hackathon

BYU Law was a local host for the Global Legal Hackathon, bringing together developers, lawyers, and students, for 52 hours to create innovative legal technologies. The BYU Law location was one of 40 locations around the globe. The hackathon marked an important turning point in the development of legal technology and the practice of law as people came together to show they are ready for change.

The Hackathon comes as part of a larger trend of BYU Law establishing itself as a center for legal innovation and entrepreneurship. Currently, 80 percent of the legal needs of consumers are unmet by traditional lawyering. These unmet needs make up a $35 billion untapped market. This area is ripe for courageous law students to shake things up and make a name for themselves. Law firms need legal process managers, legal tech startups need legal product managers, and the world needs entrepreneurs. The students participating in the Hackathon came and did just that: shook things up.

The hackathon was locally sponsored by Parsons Behle & Latimer, Patent Law Works, and BYU Law. Also, Savvi Legal, App Raptors, and Adobe provided mentorship for the teams.

Lincoln Mead, IT Director for the Utah State Bar; Sara Jones, Co-Founder of Women Tech Council; and Curtis Anderson, BYU Law Professor and former General Counsel for Match, served as judges.

Legal Concierge goes on to the next round

Jon Forsyth, web development consultant; Briann Rosier, BYU Law 2L; and Chris Bright, BYU MBA student won the local competition for their chatbot that answers the fundamental question: Do I need a lawyer?

Left to right: Lincoln Mead, Jon Forsyth, Brianna Rosier, Chris Bright, and Curtis Anderson.

Legal Leaf wins “Most Innovative” and “Best Use of Artificial Intelligence”

Andrew Carr, BYU competitive coding instructor; Andrew Daniels, BYU Law 2L; and Josh Greaves, BYU computer science major won “Most Innovative” and “Best Use of AI” for their Chrome browser Extension Legal Leaf, which translates legalese terms and conditions into plain-English summaries.

Left to right: Lincoln Mead, Andrew Carr, Andrew Daniels, Josh Greaves, and Curtis Anderson.

Prior Art Search wins “Best Private Application”

Joseph Szendre, BYU computer science major; Brandon Warner, back-end developer at Red Pepper Software; Ike Jeon, software engineer at Red Pepper Software; Autumn Griffin, BYU bioinformatics major; and Marcelo Almeida, BYU computer science major won “Best Private Application” for Prior Art search, a web app that reads uploaded patent applications and instantly finds the best matches in the PTO’s database.

Left to right: Lincoln Mead, Joseph Szendre, Brandon Warner, Ike Jeon, Autumn Griffin, and Curtis Anderson.

Bert Bot wins “Most Impact on Access to Justice”

Bert Grabinger, BYU JD/MBA; George Simons, BYU Law 2L, and Breanna Pennock, BYU accounting major won “Most Impact on Access to Justice,” for Bert Bot, a chatbot that tells pro se litigants what the next deadline is on their case.

Left to right: Lincoln Mead, Bert Grabinger, George Simons, Breanna Pennock, and Curtis Anderson.

Stay tuned for next year.

Written by George Simons

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