The original intent of the concept of hacking was to engage in technology supported “problem solving”. Seeking to reclaim that intent, the Music City Legal Hackers will address the intersection of law, technology and the public interest. Following the initiatives in other major legal centers, this group brings together law students, academics, practicing lawyers and other disciplines to explore how social concerns can be addressed through innovative approaches to the delivery of legal services. Technology and other legal service delivery methodologies will be explored and developed consistent with Nashville’s pressing legal needs. In addition to regular meetings (8 to 10 times yearly), the Music City Legal Hackers intend to sponsor annual “hackathons” at which legal service providers, technologists, policy makers and the client community gather to create solutions to pressing legal needs in the Nashville community.
More than 50 lawyers, law students, technologists, entrepreneurs and public interest advocates participated in the Sept. 17 “Music City Hackers” session organized by the Program on Law and Innovation. Hosted by the Waller law firm and the Nashville-based legal services firm Cicayda, the meeting featured Cicayda founder Roe Frazer, a former trial attorney, and Adjunct Law Professor Marc Jenkins ’03, Cicayda’s deputy general counsel. Frazer and Jenkins discussed how Cicayda is applying Augmented Intelligence and other technologies to change the ways in which e-discovery and other legal services are performed and delivered.
PoLI is directed by Professor J.B. Ruhl and coordinated by Adjunct Law Professor Larry Bridgesmith, who organized the “Music City Legal Hackers” to bring the disciplines of law, technology and public interest advocacy together to help address pressing community issues. In spring 2016, PoLI and the Music City Legal Hackers will host a Legal Hackathon in Nashville at which lawyers, academics, law students, software developers, systems analysts, legal project managers and public interest advocates will work together to develop new software applications to advance access to justice.
PoLI has attracted strong interest among law and computer students as well as favorable attention from Nashville’s legal and tech communities. PoLI was launched in January 2015.
Working with Professor Nancy Hyer of the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management, program faculty are researching the cutting edges of legal services innovation through the use of legal project management, new business models and new technologies. The initiative will involve field studies of firms and other service providers and comprehensive literature and media research. The research will assist in the design of program curriculum and activities as well as faculty legal and business scholarship.
In a course offered each spring, twenty Vanderbilt law students led by Adjunct Professor Marc Jenkins utilize the Neota Logic software platform to enhance access to justice in Tennessee. The students work in collaborative teams to build legal applications for several non-profit legal organizations. The course culminates in a pitch day where the students present their apps to a panel of judges consisting of a general counsel, a law firm managing partner, a legal technology software founder, Vanderbilt faculty member and a venture capitalist. The 2016 pitch day event was held on April 19.
Program Director, J.B Ruhl, blogs about all matters within the scope of the Program on Law & Innovation at his Law 2050 blog . Program Coordinator, Larry Bridgesmith, covers this theme as well at his Lean.Law Letters blog.
Students demonstrating an interest in the focal themes of the Program and wishing to support Program scholarship and activities can apply for a semester-long Student Research Fellowship. One fellowship will be awarded each semester.
Vanderbilt Law School provides financial support to students who work in the summer for non-profit organizations dedicated to developing legal innovations that promote access to legal services for small businesses and low and moderate income families.
Vanderbilt Law School's conference on Artificial Intelligence and the Law, held in April 2016, attracted much media attention. Speakers included Richard Susskind , international speaker, independent adviser to major professional firms and to national governments, and author of Tomorrow's Lawyers and The Future of the Professions, and Andrew Arruda, whose firm ROSS Intelligence helped build ROSS, the world's first artificially intelligent attorney, on top of IBM Watson.
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