Westminster Law School hosts successful Global Legal Hackathon
Law 5 March 2019
The Global Legal Hackathon took place from 22-24 February in more than 40 cities around the world across six continents and more that 60 host companies to develop legal technology concepts and pitch prototypes. The London event was hosted by Westminster Law School in collaboration with Agile Elephant, Wavelength, and the Cambridge Strategy Group.
The judging panel included Christina Blacklaws, President of The Law Society, Jeanette Nicholas, Assistant Head at Westminster Law School, Jelena Madir, Chief Counsel of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Dr Richard Sykes, Chair of the Cloud Industry Forum, and Ben Gardner, Chief Scientific Officer at Wavelength Law.
The event was introduced by Fraser Matcham, a graduate from Westminster Law School now Director of the Legal Innovation Zone at Westminster, a new initiative focusing on enabling Westminster law students to work with their peers and a consortium of external tech companies and law firms to develop legal entrepreneurship and technological advancements.
Fraser kicked off the event by announcing the launch of the first University Barclays LawTech Eagle Labs, one of the largest co-working collaboration and incubator networks for start-ups and scale-ups in the UK.
Eagle Labs are spaces designed to help entrepreneurs and ambitious businesses to collaborate, innovate and grow. The initiative cultivates a community of likeminded entrepreneurs and provide them access to a collaborative environment, peer networks, and opportunities to maximise growth.
In 2018, Eagle Labs created a dedicated LawTech incubator in London, in partnership with the Law Society and a consortium of law firm and academic partners that designed to bridge the gap between LawTech start-ups and law firms to create collaborations and genuine innovative solutions that benefit the legal industry and drive transformation.
Speaking at the event, Fraser Matcham said: “This is the first step as part of our program to deliver for our entrepreneurial students by establishing a collaborative and thriving environment with industry partners, advisors and mentors to incubate legal innovation.
“Westminster Law School will continue to pioneer change in higher-education legal studies and legal technology with a focus on legal education, legal entrepreneurship, and legal research.”
Representatives from Barclays said: “Barclays are a large-scale retail and investment bank with a global footprint that, through Eagle Labs, is supporting the Legal Innovation Programme.”
After the announcement, the Hackathon began, seeing eight teams with over 70 participants working throughout the weekend to form and build their proposed solutions. On the final day of the competition, the judging panel and participants convened to hear what the teams got up to, including an application focusing on improving awareness and support for mental health, a translation application for converting legal text to non-jargonistic English for clients to understand, and many more.
The winning team (cover picture), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, was announced at Westminster Law School by Christina Blacklaws from The Law Society. The team was recognised for their Clausana application that made sense of contract terms and conditions for ordinary consumers to address the growing concern over uninformed consent to mounting online terms and conditions.
The Freshfields team will now go onto the next stage of the GLH Competition where they will undertake a ‘virtual’ pitch to get the chance to move to the third and final round live in New York, USA.
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