This is a summer of legal hackathons here in the Boston area. As I’ve previously mentioned here, The  the ABA Journal and Suffolk University Law School will be cosponsoring a hackathon around the theme of access to justice in conjunction with the ABA annual meeting in Boston. Hackcess to Justice, as it is being called, will be held Aug. 7-8, with $3,000 in prize money going to the top three hacks. (I’m thrilled to add that I will be one of the three judges for the event.) Read more about it here and here

Meanwhile, the first-ever MIT Legal Hackathon kicks off tomorrow and runs through Sunday, and you do not need to be anywhere near Boston to participate, since the entire event takes place online. The event announcement describes its purpose:

The goal of the event is to bring together people to collaborate on solving legal and technical issues and challenges as law and business become fully digital.  Software developers, business people, academics, government employees, advocates and others.  Participants will have the opportunity to offer or join sessions to collaborate on “hacking the law” by developing computer and legal projects.

Included over the course of the event will be four “innovation challenges” that will focus on coming up with ways to better address certain issues relating to legal information:

  • Clio challenge. Clio will sponsor a  challenge that will pull together participants from the business, legal and computer communities to look at a couple of different issues and develop approaches to solving the needs of all three communities.
  • Annotation challenge. Sponsored by Casetext (which I reviewed here), this challenge focuses on conceiving of and implementing ways to use and improve the Casetext platform, which uses crowdsourcing to annotate primary legal materials.
  • Effective legal language challenge. Andrew Perlman, director of the Institute on Law Practice Technology & Innovation at Suffolk Law School, and Gabe Teninbaum, professor of legal writing at Suffolk Law, will lead this challenge, which will look at developing a two-step crowdsourcing platform for the drafting of more effective legal language.
  • Controlling and exercising data rights. No description has been posted yet of this challenge.

In addition to these challenges, there is a full program of related sessions, as well as the opportunity for participants to create their own sessions. See the full program here and a list of the speakers here. Registration is free. Follow developments through the event blog.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.