The Legal Forecast’s Disrupting Law competition over the weekend brought together 25 students from a range of disciplines and universities to innovate and disrupt the legal industry in a 54-hour hackathon event
Disrupting Law is an initiative developed by QUT Starters, a student-run organisation, and The Legal Forecast, run by early-career professionals. Teams of students studying law, IT, business, science, and engineering worked closely with industry professionals over a 54-hour period, before pitching their ideas to a ‘Shark Tank’ style panel of legal and technology specialists.
Students from QUT, UQ, USQ, University of Sydney, RMIT, and Coder Academy were assembled into teams at random and tasked to identify and solve a legal problem pertaining to the theme of legal education.
Beginning on Friday night, Professor Dan Hunter and final year QUT Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Laws (Honours) student, Camille Etchegaray (and Disrupting Law alum) provided insightful keynotes encouraging outside-the-box thinking, creativity, and the value of cross-discipline teamwork when brainstorming solutions.
Working intensively over the weekend, the teams worked together to identify problems and create tech-based solutions that were then pitched to an esteemed panel of judges on Sunday night.
Practising lawyers from Allens, McCullough Robertson, Ashurst, Herbert Smith Freehills, Irish Bentley were assigned to each team as mentors. Roaming guest mentors from industry provided invaluable expertise spanning technology, entrepreneurship, negotiation and legal tech. Software engineers from Microsoft were able to help students bring solutions to life by assisting in the creation of prototype apps and chatbots that were then available for audience members and judges to test during the pitches.
The panel of judges consisted of the former Queensland Court of Appeal Judge Hon. Anthe Philippides, QUT Dean of Law, Professor Dan Hunter, QUT’s Pro-Vice Chancellor (Entrepreneurship) Professor Rowena Barrett, and Churchill Fellow Andrea Perry-Petersen. Teams were marked against four criteria: validation and business model, innovation, execution and pitch, and ethics and legal. Pitches were limited to five minutes before responding to rapid fire feasibility questions from the panel.
On the night, the Honourable Anthe Philippides remarked that it was,
“A delightful experience to be part of the judging panel and I am in awe of the incredible energy, enthusiasm and creativity that has been brought to the evening.”
The team mentored by Herbert Smith Freehills were deemed the competition’s overall winners for conceptualising an app called CrashDiary.
CrashDiary was designed to assist the user thoroughly and accurately document an accident using object recognition technology, location features and timestamping. The app would guide users through the process of what evidence they need to collect in order to make the most robust insurance claims. The benefits would be three-fold, reducing consumer anxiety by streamlining the evidence gathering process and helping them to understand their legal rights and obligations and for insurance companies, by streamlining the process when assessing a claim.
The winning team receives a Startup Sprint, facilitated by BDO for Startups. BDO for Startups is a specialist program of BDO Australia for early stage, high growth ventures led by world-class entrepreneurs and founders. The Startup Sprint is an intensive 2-hour session with the Startup growth specialists at BDO and will include refining value proposition, go-to market strategy, pricing, scaling and capital raising.
Professor Rowena Barrett presented the People’s Choice Award to Opus, mentored by McCullough Robertson. The team created a prototype chatbot that would walk a user through the process of identifying whether they had been unfairly dismissed and what their next steps or opportunities for legal recourse could be. The team outlined how their chatbot would initially focus on unfair dismissal but could be scaled in the future to become a one-stop shop, addressing access to justice issues for the everyday user.
“Disrupting Law is about the journey rather than the destination. While it may look like we are trying to build the next unicorn start up, we are truly trying to assist in shaping the next generation of grads to be innovative, and appreciate the importance of entrepreneurship, teamwork, multidisciplinary collaboration, and human centred design.”
The Legal Forecast would like to thank the following for their support of the event:
- Melanie Booker, QUT Law School;
- Blair Carey, TLF Queensland President;
- Daniel Trigger, TLF Creative President
- Allister Harrison, TLF Creative Big Band Musical Director;
- Akaash Singh, TLF Director;
- Angus Murray, TLF Director;
- Milan Gandi, TLF Director,
- Dennae Smith, TLF Volunteer;
- Gideon Caturla, TLF Volunteer;
- Tanisha Wong; TLF Volunteer;
- Ethan Barr-Hamilton; TLF Volunteer;
- Adam Connolly; TLF Volunteer;
- Tegun Middleton; TLF Volunteer
- Stacey Vaz, TLF Volunteer
- Chelsea McLeod, TLF Volunteer
- Sony Panicker, Videographer
- Anna Kretowitcz, TLF National
- Sofia Pichardo, TLF National
- Barbara Vrettos, TLF Director
- Timothy Hui, BDO, Mandalay Ventures
- Michael Bidwell, TLF National
- Linda Mulenda, TLF WA
- Shonna Lye, TLF Volunteer
The Legal Forecast also thanks the judging panel and its sponsors of Disrupting Law (QLD): Allens (Platinum Sponsor), Herbert Smith Freehills, McCullough Robertson, Ashurst and Irish Bentley as well as the Sponsors of TLF Creative: the Hon Anthe Philippides as Founding Patron, Cooper Grace Ward, Irish Bentley, Herbert Smith Freehills, Gilchrist Connell and the Queensland Law Society.