Hackcess to Justice is the first hackathon of its kind in Louisiana designed to promote greater access of legal options and build out the technology to do so.
Local entrepreneur Damon Burns explained the event as “a group of forward-thinking attorneys connecting to a group of brilliant software engineers to create technology that serves individuals unable to afford legal representation.”
Held in conjunction with New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, the hackathon generated five teams–varied combinations of legal aids and members of the tech community–that participated over the weekend (March 21 – 22) at Loyola University College of Law.
A $3,000 cash prize was up for grabs along with a business consulting package offered by 52businesses, a local organization that helps startups launch.
Participants were judged on execution, innovation, impact, and overall creativity and general appeal.
Hackathon judges included: Nadine Ramsey, New Orleans City Councilmember; Glenn Rawdon, Program Counsel for Technology for the Legal Services Corporation; Mark Cunningham, President-Elect of the Louisiana State Bar Association; Monte Mollere, Access to Justice Director for the Louisiana State Bar Association; and Abid Hussain, corporate attorney.
At the end of the two-day event, judges made the announcement that all five teams would walk away with a prize rather than the top three.
Legal Proof, designed by a duo from an app development company, took home the top prize for the free app that collects and tracks legal evidence. Users can choose a proof category, type and then capture details–timestamp, location–which will generate an email to send to relevant parties or attorneys. In the future, Legal Proof wants to be able to track the metadata off of older photos, and see who took the photo and captured the evidence.
The Mobile Access to Justice team created a simple, on-the-go platform for attorney-client collaboration, which came in second place. People are using mobile devices more and more to access the Internet, so they created an app that is used for communication, to exchange information securely, to set meeting dates and reminders, and even chat between users.
Third place was awarded to ExpungeMe, designed to optimize lawyers’ time through automating a complicated form. The platform allows user to complete and file a motion for expungement for without the use of a lawyer.
Fourth and fifth places went to Simple Rights, a platform that simplifies legal information, and Igiari, the app that allows clients to easily find legal aid help to find aid in the area, respectively.
This coverage is brought to you by Peer Partners Interactive.