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2018 Law Tech Challenge explores legal tech for social justice

14 May 2018

Helping people who are facing homelessness is just one of the projects currently underway as part of the 2018 Allens Neota UTS Law Tech Challenge for Social Justice.

The Challenge addresses one of the challenges for today’s law students: understanding disruptive technologies and developing the knowledge and skills to deal with them.

Sponsored by Allens and in partnership with software firm Neota Logic, the Law Tech Challenge for Social Justice asks students to come up with ideas which utilise app technology to help promote access to justice for those who can least afford it.

UTS students enrolled in the Brennan Justice and Leadership Programme, along with five Allens lawyers, are taking part in the challenge, which is running for the second year.

Competitions to design smart apps are nothing new, but at the UTS Law School, there’s a different focus – the students work specifically with not-for-profit organisations.

For example, one student group called ‘Justice by Design’ is partnering with a Melbourne pro-bono legal service to help disadvantaged clients fight eviction.

Another team, ‘B-hive’, is looking at the needs of the Refugee Legal Service, which wants to streamline its evening advice service.

Allens Partner and Head of Innovation Anna Collyer says the Challenge is a mutually rewarding process.

'As well as being an increasingly important competency for lawyers, new technologies can transform the way individuals and organisations interact with the law. We're delighted to be working with some exceptionally bright future lawyers at UTS to unlock new possibilities for our pro bono clients.'

Beth Patterson, Allens' Chief Legal & Technology Services Officer, agrees:

'At Allens, we're committed to equipping our lawyers with the skills and experience they need to be the lawyers of the future. The Law Tech Challenge is a great opportunity for them to further their skills in legal technology while making a strong community contribution.'

UTS Law’s Dr Philippa Ryan is overseeing the challenge and says all the ideas are impressive.

‘This year’s teams are thoughtfully innovative and technically competent - a magic combination when designing apps to solve practical problems for community legal centres.'

The Challenge is unique because it has a high level of industry involvement. Allens lawyers are represented on each team, meeting regularly with students to workshop ideas and help develop their apps.

The teams are learning that by combining innovative thinking and legal technology, it is possible to solve social justice problems.

An expert panel will determine the winning App at the Grand Final in early August.

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Notes for editors.

Allens is a commercial law firm working throughout Australia and Asia. Through its integrated alliance with Linklaters it provides clients access to 40 offices in 28 countries around the world.