Written by Alyssa Walker

Held across 40 cities and 20 countries, the first global law school hackathon brainstormed ways to harness technology to harness legal problems. 

According to an article on Law.com, at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, third-year law student Aram Ekimyam suggested a website that would allow those convicted of marijuana misdemeanors to clear their records easily.

He said, "I thought it was something that was very practical. It might seem very small, but expungement can change a person's life."

Hackathon judges liked the idea of streamlining a current expensive and circuitous legal process. Ekimyam is moving onto the next round of the competition.

Dorna Moini, lawyer founder of HelpSelf Legal helped Ekimyam develop the prototype that would help users find their records, and cost them $100 to clear them. This is a stark contrast to the minimum $00 cost of hiring a lawyer to do the same thing. 

Ekimyan said, "THe whole idea was to make the process more efficient and cheaper."

Law student's at Boston's Suffolk University also competed at the Hackathon and pitched an idea for a hologram mediator, that would function a bit like Amazon's Alexa.

Students proposed designing the software and making it available to courts to build the product's reputation.

According to Law.com, second-year Suffolk student Anthony Metzler said, "Our mediator would take the human element out of it, and everything would be backed up factually."

He gave the example of a divorced couple disagreeing over summer camp payments. The hologram mediator could instantly offer impartial information on the average cost of summer camp in the area.

Metzler said, "I think people get caught up in the idea of, 'I'm not a programmer so I can't do that.' This weekend proved that you don't need coding experience to come up with good ideas."

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Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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