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A hackathon is an event, typically lasting 24-48 hours, in which a large number of people (software programmers, user experience designers, data scientists, project managers, and subject matter experts) meet to engage in competitive collaborative computer programming around a specific set of challenges. Teams that create the most meaningful and innovative solutions under the specific judging criteria are rewarded at the culmination of the event.

Legal hackathons apply these concepts to innovate the law or solve a set of legal problems. Legal hackathons aim to improve legal process and/or make the law more accessible through the creation of user-friendly mobile apps, web platforms, etc.

There are often mixed reviews over legal hackathon events. Folks either absolutely love them or find them completely useless. You can find the gambit of articles out there praising these events or bashing them. After participating in five or so legal hackathons, and organized two of my own, you can probably figure out where I fall on this spectrum. But I’m not here to spue any of my biases on you. I want you to make your own verdict, and you have the opportunity this weekend with the upcoming “Virtual Legal Justice Hackathon” on Friday & Saturday, November 4th and 5th. 

Tech for Justice Legal Justice Hackathon will bring together Nonprofit Advocates, Legal Aid Organizations, Private Lawyers, Technologists, Students, Educators, Counselors, Activists, Businesses, Entrepreneurs, Public Housing Officials, State and City Representatives, Judges, and more, to come up with innovative and transparent solutions, supporting technologies, and plans for implementation with initiative collaborators and partners. The event is free to register and you can attend from the comforts of your own home!

Oh, and don’t worry if you don’t have any tech experience. Tech for Justice has graciously provided a ton of materials and a really user-friendly guide to getting you up to speed. So, start a project, join a team or peak your head in a slack group to see what solutions are made! Thanks, and we would love to hear from you after the event!