With Neota Logic Hackathons, global law firms foster innovation and discover new talent

Posted: 17 July 2018
By: Maeve Lavelle & Kevin Mulcahy

For several years now, laws schools around the world have been preparing students for 21st legal practice by including Neota Logic in their curriculum.  Neota Logic’s law school courses at Georgetown Law, Cornell, University of Melbourne and other schools have involved hundreds students, who have built many types of expertise automation apps in Neota Logic.

This spring, Neota Logic extended its law school program by working with two global law firms — McCann FitzGerald and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer — to run app-building hackathons at the firms for law students. At both events, the students designed and built advanced expertise-automation apps in less than two days.

 

On the Emerald Isle: The McCann FitzGerald Legal Apps Hackathon

In March, Neota Logic ran a 24-hour Legal Apps Hackathon with McCann FitzGerald (2018 Irish Law Firm of the Year) in Dublin. The innovative event involved 16 students who worked in teams of four to design and build their apps. A brief video recap of the event is linked above.

For McCann FitzGerald, the unprecedented all-night hackathon was a way to let students — and prospective clients — know that the firm is strongly embracing technology to deliver legal services and wants to recruit students who have skills in both law and technology. The firm’s managing partner, Barry Devereux, emphasized to the students that “McCann is a law firm that sells software products” and therefore needs lawyers with diverse skill sets.

To participate in the McCann Hackathon, each student had to submit their CV and a short essay on why he or she wanted to be involved. McCann selected the 16 students from more than 100 applicants. Before the hackathon, the students were placed in teams and assigned one of the following topics for their app:

  • White Collar Crime Reporting Advisor
  • Money Laundering Risk Assessment Tool
  • Business Entity Selection Advisor
  • Foreign Merger Notification Advisor

Defining Scope – The students began the hackathon by defining the scope of their app with their team leader, a McCann staff member skilled in Neota Logic:

Diagramming Structure – To plan the structure and flow of their apps, the students did a lot of diagramming – and used principles of design thinking, which required a strong focus on user needs, as well as the applicable legal rules:

Building the App – Once the apps were planned, the team leaders showed the students how to use Neota Logic’s drag-and-drop development platform and the apps started to come to life. The students quickly started levering the power and flexibility of Neota Logic, developing advanced apps without the burdens of traditional coding:

Presenting & Winning – After 24 hours, the students presented their completed apps to a panel of judges who gave awards for Excellence in User Interface, Excellence in User Experience, Leveraging Technology, Best Presentation, and Best Overall App. Shown here are the developers of the White Collar Crime Reporting Advisor, which took the top honors (and a big check!):

The McCann FitzGerald Legal Apps Hackathon was a great event that showed the students that legal expertise can be leveraged through software and that the students can be both the content experts and app developers. In addition, the event gave the McCann leadership a great opportunity to get to know the talented group of tech-savvy students.  Pictured below are Grainne Bryan, CEO of Legal Technology Solutions at McCann Fitzgerald, and Barry Devereux, Managing Partner — refueling with students during the closing hours of the 24-hour event:

On to Germany: The Freshfields Legal Tech Hackathon

After picking up stakes in Ireland, the Neota Logic Education team moved on to Frankfurt, Germany in May, where we helped the global law firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer run a hackathon over a two-day period. Thirty-six German law students, who were also selected from a pool of more than 100 applicants, developed a variety of apps, including two types of antitrust fine calculators and several types of compliance advisors:

As at the McCann hackathon, the Freshfields Hackathon was well-received by the students. Freshfields lawyer, Frank Felgenträger, said “the students loved it right from the start” and they “think this type of training should be provided in every law school.”

Developing Skills in Students and Lawyers

As well as introducing students to the world of app building, the Neota Logic hackathons provided an opportunity for lawyers in the two firms to get more experience building apps. Each student team was led by a lawyer from the firm — and the enthusiasm displayed by the Team Leaders to learn Neota Logic and help their team succeed is indicative of a firm-wide appetite to improve methods of legal service delivery.

 

Fostering a Culture of Innovation at Your Firm

Neota Logic’s experience across the globe is that the digital legal mindset is something that can be cultivated. Once there’s a willingness to change and re-imagine the status quo, innovation can definitely take root. We’re looking forward to bringing more hackathons to more Neota Logic clients in EMEA and around the world as part of our clients’ journey toward a better model of professional service delivery.

To discuss how your firm can benefit from a Neota Logic hackathon, contact us at info@neotalogic.com.

 

For a private demo of the Neota Logic platform and/or to see applications in action, please request a demo

Written by: Maeve Lavelle & Kevin Mulcahy