Student Competitions

Seattle U Holds Social Justice Hackathon

Seattle University School of Law is hosting its first Social Justice Hackathon, a two-day event bringing together law students, lawyers and developers to create software applications designed to improve access to legal service.

The event will take place on the Seattle University campus on November 6-7, 2015. The event organizers and sponsors established the hackathon to help reduce barriers to legal services for those who cannot afford to pay for them. Hackathon participants who develop the most practical and feasible applications will receive prizes and support intended to help them further their work. "The goal of the hackathon is not just to build more tech applications, but to truly get around restrictions or barriers prohibiting low-income or moderate means individuals from receiving access to legal services," said Miguel Willis, a second-year law student at Seattle University School of Law, in a prepared statement.

When the event begins on Friday evening, participants can pitch ideas and form teams or choose to work individually and then begin developing their applications. Throughout the day on Saturday, participants will meet with coaches, finalize their applications and put together a presentation and demonstration of their application. Several guest speakers will address the participants and other attendees throughout the event. On Saturday evening, a team of judges will evaluate the applications and announce the winners. The judges are Brian Howe, CEO of Impact Hub; William Covington, Professor at the University of Washington School of Law; and Aurora Martin, Director of Columbia Legal Services.

Participants may choose to develop their own idea for an application or choose from a pool of ideas suggested by community partners. The hackathon welcomes any kind of technology-based solution, including Web apps, mobile apps, wearables and algorithms. Projects could include educational platforms to inform citizens of their legal rights, legal portals to direct people to services, mobile applications to facilitate law-related communications or legal document-assembly applications.

Further information about the Social Justice Hackathon can be found on the event's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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