CARY, NC Sept. 18, 2015 – The North Carolina Bar Association, in partnership with the ABA Journal of the American Bar Association, will present North Carolina’s first-ever access to justice “Hackathon” on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24-25, at the Campbell Law School in downtown Raleigh.
Hackcess to Justice (official hashtag #HackcessToJusticeNC) is an opportunity for local programmers, web developers and tech-savvy attorneys to use their legal, entrepreneurial and coding skills to help the legal aid community by creating a technology-enabled solution for challenges faced by North Carolinians who cannot afford a lawyer. Participation in this event is open to anyone of any skill level. Registration for teams or individuals is free and now open.
The event is being held in conjunction with the ABA’s 2015 National Celebration of Pro Bono Week (Oct. 25-31).
Throughout the two-day event, representatives from legal aid organizations throughout North Carolina and other lawyers and legal professionals will be on site to discuss the unique issues that they and their clients face and the types of solutions they seek. Contestants are also encouraged to come up with their own ideas to help legal aid lawyers better use their limited resources and more effectively serve their clients.
The event begins on Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. with registration and a kickoff breakfast, followed by the keynote address and the presentation of pitches and rules. Jeff Ward, director of Duke Law School’s Start-Up Ventures Clinic, will present the keynote address.
After a lunch-and-learn session at noon, teams will work on their proposals from 1-5. On Oct. 25 contestants will return for breakfast at 9 a.m., and then go back to work from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at which time their submissions are due.
While the work is going on Sunday afternoon, an introductory seminar for members of the legal community, Coding for Lawyers, will take place from 2-3:30.
Group presentations and judging of submissions will follow from 4:30 to 6, with announcement of winners and an awards reception at 6. First prize is $1,500, second prize is $1,000, and third prize is $500.
Associate Justice Barbara Jackson of the N.C. Supreme Court will be the featured speaker at the awards program.
Technology has taken a firm hold in the legal industry. Every day legal professionals use technology-enabled tools for discovery, litigation support, document assembly and information needs. But the promise of technology has been fleeting when it comes to the access to justice arena.
In 2013, Legal Services Corp. produced a seminal report outlining five key ways that technology can expand access to justice, especially through computers and mobile devices. The five categories are: (1) document assembly for pro se litigants, (2) better identification of most-needed client services, (3) mobile technologies, (4) remote service delivery, and (5) expert systems and checklists.
It is the hope of everyone involved with this event that Hackcess to Justice will help expand access to justice through any if not all of these areas identified by Legal Services Corp., the federal agency which funds and monitors free civil legal aid in the United States.
Questions and comments may be directed via email to Jill Chanen, Director of Events at the ABA Journal email@example.com.