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A global hackathon supported by the Financial Times is inviting organisations and individuals in the legal sector to develop solutions to problems created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The FT Innovative Lawyers reports have over the past 15 years recognised innovators from across the global legal sector for their skills in solving complex problems for business and society. Now we are asking these innovators to help tackle some of the urgent challenges posed by Covid-19. The (recently extended) deadline to register as a participant or to suggest a challenge is May 17.

Organised by Global Legal Hackathon (GLH), and supported by FT Innovative Lawyers, the hackathon will take place online from April 27 to May 22 (extended from the original date). It will bring together legal professionals, software developers, designers and businesspeople to develop solutions to problems identified by organisations, governments, and individuals.

Organisations of any type are invited to submit challenges, which can relate to their business, industry, staff, clients, communities, their country, or the world. Participants in the hackathon will then form teams to address challenges which might range from the online functioning of courts to helping migrant workers caught in lockdown limbo.

The overall objective is to harness the collective capability, energy and innovation of the world’s legal industry to support communities, governments and industries during this global emergency.


What is a hackathon?

A hackathon traditionally involves teams of professionals, software developers, designers and other experts working intensely over short periods of time to build prototype software solutions. The FT Innovative Lawyers-Global Legal Hackathon Challenge will seek to solve a range of legal and related challenges through technology or other means. It will be held online over three weeks.

How the challenge will work

  • Organisations and individuals contribute challenges to be solved during the hackathon.
  • Participants register for the hackathon as either individuals or teams of individuals from one or multiple organisations.
  • When the hackathon begins, each team will review the challenges listed and launch a project to address a specific challenge.
  • Teams and individuals should not have begun development on their projects prior to the hackathon start date. However, they may discuss and agree ideas prior to the hackathon.
  • Individual participants can either launch their own project to address a challenge and invite other individuals to join them, or join a project that has already been formed.
  • During the three week duration of the event, project teams will collaborate to undertake market research, design a solution, develop a proof of concept, and build a prototype or working solution.
  • Due to the requirement of social distancing during the Covid-19 crisis, the hackathon will be conducted entirely online.
  • At the end of the three weeks, teams will submit their projects.
  • Project submissions will be shared publicly on the FTIL-GLH challenge website at the conclusion of the hackathon, and businesses, governments, non-profit organisations, and law firms may then elect to offer support and resources to further develop or implement the solutions created by the participating teams.
  • A selection of solutions developed during the hackathon will be showcased by the Financial Times through FT Innovative Lawyers.
  • Global Legal Hackathon will provide access to guidance and resources on developing and presenting solutions, and on remote collaboration.

Requirements for projects and teams

  • What is a project? During the hackathon teams of individuals form projects to address a specific challenge.
  • Who can found a project? Any participant can found a project, and there is no cost to do so.
  • How do participants join a project team? Once a project has been listed on the FT Innovative Lawyers-Global Legal Hackathon (FTIL-GLH) website, other participants can ask to join the project, subject to approval from the project founder. Additionally, a project founder may invite specific individuals to join the project. The event website will allow project founders to search the database of registered participants for specific expertise or skills that are needed to successfully complete the projects.
  • How many individuals can join a project team? Hackathon best practices suggest that project teams should have at least three members, and no more than eight, although team size and composition is at the discretion of project founders. Given the global nature of this hackathon, some projects with global scope may have much larger teams comprising individuals from many organisations and many countries.
  • Can an organisation form more than one team? Yes. There are no restrictions on the numbers of teams an organisation can form. While we recommend cross-functional and cross-organisational teams to leverage a diverse mix of talent, individual organisations may form one or more teams composed exclusively of members of that organisation. Additionally, law firms may form teams in collaboration with clients, and clients may form teams in collaboration with law firms.

How can an organisation get involved?

We are inviting all law firms, company legal teams, law companies, legal technology companies, public sector and non-profit organisations to get involved in one or more of the following ways:

  • Contribute a challenge related to the Covid-19 crisis to be solved during the hackathon
  • Encourage your staff to register to participate in the hackathon
  • Encourage your staff to form teams and create projects to address a challenge
  • Invite clients and peer organisations in your industry or market to participate with you in the event
  • Organisations are permitted to publicise their involvement in the FT Innovative Lawyers-Global Legal Hackathon Challenge, including any challenges they have submitted and participation by staff members and teams of staff members.

How can individuals get involved?

Individuals working in the legal industry, public sector and non-profit organisations, or who are studying in the law can get involved in one or both of the following ways:

  • Contribute a challenge related to the Covid-19 crisis to be solved during the hackathon
  • Register to participate in the hackathon

How to contribute a challenge to be solved

We welcome ideas from now for challenges from any public, private or non-profit organisation. The challenges will be published prior to the start of the hackathon on April 27 on the FTIL-GLH website here.

Challenges can be submitted directly by registering online here. You will need to provide the following details:

- Name and short description of the problem to be solved

- Relevant background, including key potential stakeholders/beneficiaries

- Scope of the challenge: for a business, organisation, government, community, industry, country, region or global remit

- Your contact details

- Whether you intend to be named or remain anonymous as the challenge contributor


How to register to participate in the hackathon

Individual participants and teams can register to participate in the hackathon here.

Once registered, participants will be able to found a project related to one of the listed challenges, or request to join another project team via the FTIL-GLH website.

Global Legal Hackathon will provide participants with access to business and technical tutorials, guides, and training resources on how to develop and present solutions, and how to collaborate remotely, prior to the event.

To find full conditions for participation in the hackathon, please read Global Legal Hackathon’s terms and conditions on the FTIL-GLH website.


Schedule

Deadline to contribute a challenge to the hackathon: April 26, 2020 via a form here.

Deadline to register to participate in the hackathon: April 26, 2020 via the registration form here.

The hackathon goes live: The hackathon will run from April 27 to May 17. Teams can spend any amount of time during this period to collaborate and develop their project solutions.

Presentation of solutions: On or before May 17 2020, teams should submit a five minute or less video presentation of their solution, a pitch deck, and/or links to software or applications that have been developed.

The chance to be showcased in the Financial Times: A selection of solutions developed during the hackathon will be showcased on FT.com in June. This will include case studies and summaries written by FT journalists and RSG Consulting.


Hackathon details

  • Where: This is a global event, which will be held online.
  • Who: Law firms, in-house legal teams, new law companies, legal technology companies and individuals working or studying in the law are invited to participate in the event, either as individuals or in co-ordination with their organisations.
  • Cost: There is no financial request or commitment associated with contributing a challenge or participating in the hackathon. There are no monetary rewards associated with being selected for showcasing.
  • Intellectual property: all intellectual property remains the property of either the original owner or the inventor.
  • Technologies: teams can use any software or technologies to develop their solutions. However, solutions do not need to be technology solutions.

Contact details

For questions about the hackathon please contact RSG Consulting on +44 (0)20 7831 0300, ftresearch@rsgconsulting.com.

Conditions of entry

To find full conditions for participation in the hackathon, please read Global Legal Hackathon’s terms and conditions on the FTIL-GLH website.

The FT and RSG Consulting reserve the right to decide which challenges are published and which solutions are showcased in the FT.

The FT reserves the right to cancel, postpone or suspend its participation in the FT Innovative Lawyers-Global Legal Hackathon Challenge at any time.

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