DC Legal Hackers FIRST Legal Hackathon
On October 5, 2013, the DC Legal Hackers will host their first legal hackathon hosted at FastCase. More info below and more to come!
RSVP for food HERE (https://dclegalhackathon.eventbrite.com/).
What's a "legal hackathon"?
A legal hackathon is an event that brings together teams of lawyers, policymakers, academics, and technologists to develop innovative, on-the-spot solutions to challenging legal issues. The hackathon will present a unique problem (here: Access to Justice) for legal hackers to solve, with topics ranging from current policy debates to the role of technology in legal practice and policymaking. During the legal hackathon, the teams will work together on a tech- or policy-based solution to the issue presented. Although you don't have to be a coder to participate, we strongly encourage non-tech participants to work together with coders on their "legal hacks."
What will be "hacked" on?
PRIMARY ISSUE STATEMENT:
• Access to Justice, legal services searching (http://lsc.gov/).
The Legal Services Corporation has presented us with a compelling issue for legal hackers with the potential to help many low-income individuals around the country.
In a nutshell, LSC offers civil legal services to low-income individuals on the basis of particular "service areas," which are defined by county, city, town, or other lines, as defined by Congress. LSC providers have locations within these services areas, and are only allowed to provide legal services within those areas. Therefore, it's important for low-income individuals to know which LSC locations can serve them (and, relatedly, which of those locations is closest to them).
As it stands, the LSC search tool only offers the ability to search on the basis of state and county. Because counties can be very large, and sometimes the LSC service areas are not drawn on a county basis, the search function is not as helpful as it can be (and in some cases leads to confusing results). See Massachusetts (http://grants.lsc.gov/about-grants/where-we-fund/massachusetts) for an example. Ideally, the search tool would be able to take a zip code as input and return the nearby locations in the assigned service area. In this hackathon, we will use the underlying mapping data that LSC has on file to create new and helpful ways for low-income individuals to search for their appropriate LSC location. An example for improvement is Stateside Legal (http://statesidelegal.org/statesidemap).
9:30 Github 101
10 Access to Justice 101
10:30 Presenting the Access to Justice problem & team forming*
10:30-4:30 Hacking with lunch.
4:30 Presentations, discussion, and next steps.
After: drinks, pats on backs, more justice.
* * * * * * * *
*For those inclined, we have also outlined a few alternative tracks:
• DC regulatory law (http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/) data modeling.
• Legal Annotation (http://hypothes.is/blog/annotating-the-law/).
• Winning the Library of Congress XML Data Mapping challenge (http://blogs.loc.gov/law/2013/09/second-library-of-congress-legislative-data-challenge-launched/?loclr=twtho).
• Your legal tech idea!