Coming in February is a legal hackathon that its organizers say will be the largest legal hackathon ever, “an intense 51-hour sprint of legal tech education, creativity, and invention,” they say.

Called the Global Legal Hackathon, and set for Feb. 23-25, the event will take place in cities all over the world, with its home base in Toronto and venues set for New York, Dubai, London, Dublin, Berlin, Hong Kong, and elsewhere, all connected by live streaming, social meeting, and the event’s website and dedicated app. As of this morning, hosts in more than 50 cities worldwide have expressed interest in participating and more than 10 have been confirmed.

Participating teams will work to develop technologies that fit into one of two categories:

  • Private benefit, addressing the business and practice of law.
  • Public benefit, addressing good government, legal systems and access to justice.

From the website:

The Global Legal Hackathon engages law schools, law firms and in-house departments, legal technology companies, governments, and service providers to the legal industry – across the globe. It will bring together the best thinkers, doers and practitioners in law in support of a unified vision: rapid development of solutions to improve the legal industry, world-wide.

The hackathon will start at 6 p.m. local time on Friday, Feb. 23, and end at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25, when the
winners for each local event will be announced. One winning team from each local event will be invited to participate in a second round of judging, which takes place March 11. The top teams in each category will be invited to an awards banquet in New York City April 21, where the global winners will be announced.

Registration for teams and participants will open on Jan. 2 via the hackathon’s website. Other key dates and deadlines in advance of the hackathon are:

  • Jan. 12: Local event host applications close.
  • Jan. 5: Online distribution of materials, technical resources, online training, etc. to participants that have registered and to hosts.
  • Jan. 16: Webinar for hosts, worldwide, covering planning, logistics, promotion, partners, sponsors, judges, mentors, and volunteers.
  • Jan. 26: Deadline for all host venues to be confirmed.
  • Jan. 30: Webinar for hosts, worldwide – updates on the event, sponsors, materials, etc.

The organizers are seeking law firms, legal departments and law schools to participate, either by participating as contestants, hosting a local event, or providing sponsorship. They are also inviting software companies to participate in the same ways, or by offering free access to their technology to hackathon teams.

There is no cost to enter the hackathon or to host a local event. Hosts will have to cover their own facility and other costs and will need space that can accomodate 100 people.

Teams will own any products they develop and any associated intellectual property rights, subject to the rights of any third-party technologies they use in building their products.

Organizers of the Global Legal Hackathon include Integra Ledger, IBM Watson, the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium, the North Texas Blockchain Alliance and Cadence.

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.