Columbia grad students win top prize for tech solution for refugees and asylees

Columbia grad students win top prize for tech solution for refugees and asylees
Columbia grad students win top prize for tech solution for refugees and asylees

Their Neota-based system automates guidance and complex form completion in pursuit of justice

Four student members of the Columbia Law School Legal Tech Association have won first place and $6,000 in development funds for the legal tech solution they’ve created, The Refugee and Asylee Assistance Suite, using Neota Logic’s no-code platform. The Suite provides automated guidance, support, and form completion to people pursuing rights in the US immigration system. The winning Columbia team consisted of Andrew Savage (JD, 2022), Ece Yagi (JD, 2022), Emrah Tanyildizi (LLM, 2020), and Vivian Hernandez (MBA, 2021).

The competition, commonly known as The CUBE Innovators Invitational, was the 7th annual Stanley M. Grossman Innovators Invitational at the Center for Urban Business and Entrepreneurship in New York City, which challenges teams from New York law schools to compete with innovative projects that improve legal services. This year, the event was held virtually with 11 teams from four NY law schools: Albany, Brooklyn, Columbia, and Cornell. The Columbia Law team was supplemented by a student from the Columbia MBA program.

The Columbia team described their entry as “a platform that guides users through an otherwise dizzying array of legal minutiae” and enables clients and legal aid workers to “get guidance and complete complex immigration forms quickly and accurately.” Emrah Tanyildizi, a lawyer from Turkey earning an LLM from Columbia Law, said that, by working in Neota, he found a “universal language for law” that enables him to reach so many people he could not otherwise connect with. And also he added:

Working in Neota was amazing. We were able to do everything we wanted and I’m excited to continue building our solution and learning Neota. *** This has changed how I see the future of law and my future in the law. Emrah Tanyildizi, Columbia LLM, 2020

John Lord, chairman of Neota Logic, said, “we’re delighted that the Columbia students have been able to leverage their skills and passion through the Neota platform to create a solution that can help people for years ahead. This is why we created the Neota platform and I’m thrilled to see the new generation of legal professionals using it so effectively.”

This is the second big win for Columbia Law students using Neota in the past year. Last summer, Emilie Schwarz of Columbia Law built an app to support abused refugees in the US and won the top prize of $15,000 in scholarship funds in the Justice Innovation Challenge run by the Law School Admission Council and ATJ Tech Fellows, in which 50 teams of law students competed with legal tech solutions they built with a variety of platforms.

Other winners in the CUBE Invitational competition were Albany Law, which earned second place and $4,000 in development funds, and Brooklyn Law, which earned third place and $2,000 in development funds. Honorable mentions also went to Cornell Law and Brooklyn Law.



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