Kyiv Legal Hackers Host First Legal Hackathon!

On May 27-28, 2017, Kyiv Legal Hackers hosted its first legal hackathon! The event was spread across two locations in the Ukraine, with over 150 people attending the pitch night for the 15 projects produced during the weekend. First prize went to Playbook, an app to help seed investors make sure their legal documents are correct from the start. The runner up was a bot that checks real estate listings for problems called Safe Property.

Congrats to organizers Valentyn Pivovarov, Nestor Dubnevych, Nataliia Komarnytska, Dima Gadomsky, Mykyta Pidgainiy, Dmytro Foremnyi and Denis Ivanov on their successful first legal hackathon. Check out their video of legal hackers at work:

Music City Legal Hackers Host Inaugural Legal Hackathon

The Music City Legal Hackers, in conjunction with Code for Nashville, hosted their first legal hackathon on April 7-8, 2017 at Vanderbilt Law School! The hackathon challenged participants to solve problems submitted by Tennessee pro bono and “low bono” legal nonprofits. For those who were interested in legal hacking and access to justice, but did not want to join the hackathon, Massachusetts Legal Hackers organizer Dazza Greenwood led an unconference during the working portions of the hackathon.

Learn more about legal hackathons and see footage from the Music City Legal Hackathon below.

New York Legal Hackers Ask What A Trump Presidency Will Mean for Technology Innovation

On December 14, 2016, the New York Legal Hackers chapter hosted a non-partisan panel discussion on what the state of technology policy might be over the next four years under President-Elect Trump. Watch the video below:

Panelists 

Oz SultanFormer CounterTerrorism Policy and Smart Cities Advisor, Trump Campaign

Kristian Stout – Associate Director for Innovation Policy, International Center for Law and Economics

Moderated by Phil Weiss

Thank you to the Internet Society New York chapter for the video!

New York Legal Hackers Explore Cryptocurrency Regulation

In a lively panel discussion on March 2nd, the New York Legal Hackers explored the shifting perceptions of Bitcoin and the various regulatory regimes impacting cryptocurrencies. Over the past several years, virtual currencies such as Bitcoin have made headlines — first as an untraceable currency used largely by criminals, then as an easily lost asset as exchanges such as Mt. Gox collapsed after security breaches, and more recently as a tech savvy investment as venture capitalists began to pour capital into cryptocurrency companies. As cryptocurrencies have gained in popularity and acceptance, governments and regulatory bodies have struggled with the question of categorizing them as something for which regulations already exist (such as a currency, a security, or a commodity) or if it is something entirely different for which new regulations need to be created.

Moderator: Houman B. Shadab, Professor of Law at New York Law School and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions

Speakers:

Carol Spawn Desmond, Managing Director at SEC Compliance Consultants, Inc.
Gregory Xethalis, Counsel at Kaye Scholer LLP
Jay L. Hack, Partner at Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP

Thank you to sponsor Clio, venue Dev Bootcamp, and to Joly from ISOC-NY for the video!

NY Legal Hackers Declare “Safe Harbor R.I.P.: A Data Protection Postmortem”

On October 27th, New York Legal Hackers discussed the Court of Justice of the European Union’s invalidation of the much relied upon “safe harbor” permitting transfers of EU personal data to many United States companies earlier in the month. Fueled in large part by Edward Snowden’s disclosures on NSA surveillance, the decision means that EU law no longer recognizes one of the primary ways for enabling transfers of personal data. Almost 5,000 companies now must look for alternative ways under EU law to legitimize transfers that are today an integral part of daily commerce. The case also throws into question a number of other methods used in the EU to enable free flows of data, and recent statements from regulators and policymakers both within and without the EU have only further complicated the picture.

Andrew Rausa and NY organizer Warren Allen discussed the impact of a world with no Safe Harbor, the possible alternatives available, and the growing trend in countries implementing EU-style restrictions on the transfer of data.

Thank you to Cardozo Law School for hosting the event and the Internet Society New York Chapter for the video!

First Legal Hackers Meetup in Estonia Focused on Big Data and Law

The following dispatch comes from our Estonia Legal Hackers organizer Risto Hübner:

Estonia Legal Hackers had its first meetup in Tallinn, Estonia on October 7. The meetup was hosted by Nortal, the largest software development company in the Baltics. About 35 people participated. Most of the participants were practising lawyers, but the event also brought together several technologists, university professors and government officials. There were participants not only from Estonia, but also several other countries, including for example China, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Thus the atmosphere was very vibrant and lots of interesting people came together.

Risto Hübner, the general counsel of Nortal and the organizer of the meetup, as well as Anne Veerpalu, the co-organizer of the meetup and a lawyer primarily specializing on advising of early stage startups, gave an introduction to the Legal Hackers movement and overview of some of the current trends in legal technology and the legal industry in general. Thereafter, one of the leading data scientists from Estonia gave an interesting presentation about big data and machine learning, opening up the following discussion about the relevance of big data for lawyers and their clients. In addition, presentation about legal content capture and visualisation was made, demonstrating how visualisation could make it easier for people to understand legal norms. Finally, the meetup was concluded with a demo of a new database containing majority of Estonian case law, and being an alternative to the respective official legal database run by the government.

Bogotá Discusses Legal Issues for Startups

Legal Hackers Bogotá met on November 3rd to discuss “Legal Common Mistakes and More War Histories from Lawyers of Entrepreneurs”. The Bogotá chapter partnered with the Alumni Association of Los Andes University for the event, and worked with its “Special Division” of Entrepreneurs Alumni. They had almost 100 attendees that night where speakers, José Fernando Torres and Bibiana Martínez Camelo, explained some of the common mistakes in entrepreneurship and how to deal with them. Special guest, José Fernando Vélez, CEO and cofounder of PayU, talked about the importance of having good legal advice in the earlier stages of any startup and some of his experiences with legal issues in PayU. Legal Hackers Bogotá hopes to have more events where where law meets startups and their real legal necessities.

Delhi: Law and Technology – Independent or Interdependent

The Legal Hackers Delhi Chapter in alliance with Sharda University School of Law organized a panel discussion on “Law and Technology- Independent or Interdependent” on September 22, 2015. The panelists included:

1. Ramanuj Mukherjee, Co-founder, iPleaders
2. James Mukkatukkavunnkal, Founder, Scriboard
3. Maurya Vijay Chandra, Partner, Adyopant Legal

The moderator of the event was Kanan Dhru, Founder of RFGI, Lawtoons, LawForMe and initiator of Legal Hackers India.

Kanan Dhru kicked off the event by stating that that 90% of online data was created only in the past year. Considering that 5 billion people are estimated to have Internet access by 2020, what role applicable laws and regulations will have to play in the coming years is very important.

In response to this, James from Scriboard quoted examples and facts of various jurisdictions and countries where technology is a key element used by the judiciary and in addressing these challenges. He shared his views on why lawyers should adapt to the latest and upcoming technology and why the Indian Judiciary should adopt digital courts. Furthermore, in the future there will be common usage of artificial intelligence, drones and other new technology that will require updated laws. James emphasized his point by saying that there would be 20 billion devices in the world by 2030. “There are days coming where full dive technology will be used in which human neural system will be connected to the computer to read the brain,” added Ramanuj Mukherjee.

On the efficiency of the technology in aiding the Indian legal system, Ramanuj apprised the audience of the fact that more than 30 million cases are pending in the courts of India. He suggested that technology could be used to assist in spreading legal awareness and in simplifying laws and procedures so they can be easily understood by the average person.

The debate then revolved around whether recent technology was improving efficiency of justice administration in the country or instead helping people circumvent the law.  In order to combat the lack of awareness of rights, laws and legal responsibilities of the people in India, the panel discussed possible solutions such as encouraging more legal tech start-ups, creating digital friendly legal offices and continuing to develop new technology for lawyers.

NY Video: Growing Eco-Tech in an Urban Environment

Under the onus of climate change, the vulnerabilities revealed by Hurricane Sandy, and the strain of a ballooning population on a city with century old infrastructure, it is starkly apparent that the quality of life in New York City will depend on progressive sustainability planning and management, none of which would be possible without adequate fostering of eco-tech solutions.

Eco-tech companies are the bread-and-butter of the sustainability movement, and this panel will discuss the pros and cons of doing business in NYC. What kind of support and/or obstacles do eco-tech companies face in NYC? Does the City government offer adequate support and incentives for such initiatives? If not, what can be done to make it easier for such companies to flourish in an urban environment?

Panel:

Ido Salama, Sales at Sistine Solar
Sashti Balasundaram, Founder at We Radiate
Ajmal Aqtash, Associate Director of the Center for Experimental Structures
Matthew N. Greller, Clean Technology Attorney and Lobbyist

Sponsored by HP IDOL On Demand, DomainSkate, and Clio. Thank you to our host the Urban Future Lab and the Internet Society New York Chapter for the video!

First Legal Hackers India Meeting Tackles Net Neutrality Debate

Legal Hackers India is off to a strong start!

Here’s a note from organizer Kanan Dhru:

Legal Hackers India had its first meet-up in Delhi on 25th April 2015 from 5 pm to 6.30 pm at Kunzum Travel Cafe, Hauz Khas Village. This maiden informal LHI meet-up brought together a group of practicing lawyers, techies, economists, law students, engineering students, and researchers and advisers to the Parliament to carve the way ahead for LH India, Delhi Chapter. We also had among us someone who took up law as a profession after working as a techie for 12 years.

The discussions went on for more than an hour and it was agreed that LHI must offer a platform to technologists and lawyers to come up with innovations to make justice more accessible and expedient for all and to make law more understandable to all. Net neutrality was also discussed, and participants argued on both sides of the ongoing debate. While most agreed that lack of net neutrality would hamper free competition between established commercial entities and fresh start-ups, and free choice of consumers, some also argued that the kind of arrangements reached between e-commerce websites and telecom operators may in fact be beneficial as it would make e-commerce services available to markets where internet is not currently accessible otherwise. And as the cost would be borne by the e-commerce companies, the consumers will actually benefit.

It was agreed however, that this is an ongoing debate. Different aspects such as whether the costs would actually not be transferred to the consumers and whether there is any actual threat posed to free competition, need more deliberation. LH India plans to soon organize another formal meet-up to follow-up on the discussions held on the 25th.