09 Jun 2016

Law Society of Scotland hacks into digital innovation

The LSS is hosting a 48-hour 'legal hackathon' to help boost legaltech innovation at Scottish firms and improve access to justice for young people.


The two-day event to be held on 17-19 June will pose two broad challenges to code-savvy hackers in the hope that creative solutions to common problems will emerge from their experimentation. Participating hackers will be asked firstly to tackle the challenge of access to justice and legal information, especially for young people. Secondly, they will be tasked with finding new ways to ‘help people navigate legal processes and documents, such as small claims.’ A statement from the LSS describes the hackathon as a ‘pop-up innovation lab for lawyers, designers, technologists and others to collaborate and design sustainable and scalable solutions that alleviate pressing access to justice issues.’ The winners of the hackathon will receive £2,000 each, while runner-ups will take home £1,000 and tickets to other hacking events.

Something different

Unlike other hackathon-style legal events held recently in London, the LSS will throw a wider net by giving hackers broad problems rather than specific organisational challenges, with greater opportunity for lawyer input and participation. The hope, says LSS access to justice committee member Arlene McDaid, is that hackers will come up with solutions that benefit a wide range of legal groups and organisations, rather than just one. ‘All the hacks I’ve been to in the legal scene have been quite low in lawyer participation,’ she told Legal Futures, adding that the LSS hackathon would ‘provide a unique opportunity for lawyers to collaborate with a diverse group of individuals and crowdsource innovate solutions to pressing access to justice issues.’