The world's largest collaborative lawtech co-creation event, Global Legal Hackathon, has drawn to a close, with thousands of people in 42 cities around the world coming together to build solutions to the most pressing justice problems we face over the course of a single weekend.
In South Africa, a local hackathon was co-ordinated by The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL), at the Tshimolong Precinct in Johannesburg from Friday 23 to Sunday 25. Six teams of lawyers, designers and developers worked over the course of three days to build apps addressing specific local needs.
Mentors from Hogan Lovells, Myers Attorneys and Assemble software developers helped to guide teams and offer advice on product direction.
A panel of judges from Wits University School of Law, Altivex Foundry, LexisNexis South Africa and Hogan Lovells heard pitches from each team on the Sunday evening.
The overall winner at the Johannesburg event was SoLaw, a website designed to bring social media elements to the process of finding a lawyer and legal advice. Team leader Leah Molatseli of Lenoma Law said that she weanted to address the issue of prohibitively high fees, and high cost of client acquisition, by facilitating online conversations.
The runners-up, Baobab.law, developed educational tools to help citizens represent themselves in legal affairs.
"This was the first time that we've organised a legal-innovation hacakthon in South Africa and the response has been overwhelming," says HiiL's Adam Oxford. "It was exciting to see so many people taking part, and thinking creatively. We hope to see some of them again in our own Justice Accelerator programme which launched in March."
HiiL Innovating Justice Agent: Southern Africa