UCL Laws LLM students success at Online Courts Hackathon
5 July 2017
The Online Courts Hackathon, organised by Legal Geek, Professor Richard Susskind OBE, the Society for Computers and Law, The Judiciary of England and Wales and HM Courts & Tribunals Service, saw over 200 participants from leading law firms and universities. The event was held over 24 hours on 1 and 2 July 2017 at the University of Law.
Shahera Safrin and Felix Schulte-Strathaus, both UCL Laws LLM students and members of LawWithoutWalls this year, impressed the judges and brought back the awards for Most Original Concept and the Overall Winner respectively.
Shahera’s team created DoneDeal – a software that seeks to increase empathy between parties in divorce proceedings by employing a ‘blind-bidding’ strategy to determine the probability of settlement before negotiations even begin. Once parties gain a better understanding of their partner’s expectations, it uses a Tinder-like swiping mechanism to facilitate the actual exchange of settlement offers, reducing the need for the involvement of lawyers. Judges were impressed by the concept of ‘Tinder for divorcees’, claiming it ‘was so crazy, it might actually work’.
Shahera Safrin said:
‘It was an honour to participate in an event like this Hackathon, and to say it has been successful in raising the enthusiasm in the legal technology community would be an understatement. Online Courts are likely to be the most significant development to the court system in our lifetimes, and to see so many innovative ideas based on the concept was truly inspiring.’
With the interdisciplinary Wavelength/Law Society team, Felix (who was also a student on the Future of Legal Practice module) won the competition for their innovative project: COLIN. COLIN (the Courts OnLINe legal pathfinder) turns the labyrinth of finding legal help into a conversation, by means of a virtual assistant on your Amazon Echo. The tool allows for user-friendly support in the process, for example by allowing you to turn the conversation data into relevant legal correct letters & forms. Next month, Felix will begin a full time position as a legal engineer at Wavelength.law in Cambridge.’
Image 1: Room before announcing the winners
Image 2: Winning team
Image 3: Shahera Safrin, Mark Thomas (Shahera’s teammate) and Professor Richard Susskind OBE
Image 4 (from left to right): Felix Schulte-Strathaus, Mark Thomas, Shahera Safrinand and Mark O’Grady (from Wavelength, who helped Shahera’s team with coding)