Legal Geek: Law Tech Hackathon “Law for Good”
18.03.16 - 19.03.16 |

Our Law Tech Hackathon, ‘Coding For Good’ rocked. We had 50+ coder work over 24 hours at Google campus (see all photos on our Facebook page). Learn more about how you can get involved in our Law for Good program. 

Hackathon WTF?

The Hackathon was covered extensively in the media:

The Times Legal-Voice Legal-IT-InsiderHackney-GazetteGlobal-Legal-Post  Law-Society-Gazette-300x71 Haggerston Times legal-futures-logo1-300x85  Hackney Citizen Legal cheek black and white Law Careers Net

This weekend the UK’s largest Law Tech community, Legal Geek partnered with Hackney Community Law Centre, a charity which provides free and independent legal advice and representation to people living, working or studying in the London borough of Hackney, to host Europe’s first ever Charity LawTech Charity Hackathon.

150+ coders registered for the Law Tech Hackathon that ran at Old Street’s Google Campus with coders flying in from Romania, Gibraltar and US for the event. The 24-hour hackathon saw teams of Hackers and Hustlers battle it out to conceive, build, and pitch technical solutions that solve the current issues that effect the delivery and access to legal services in the borough and beyond.

Founder of Legal Geek, Jimmy Vestbirk says, “ There is a huge community of startups, coders and designers in Hackney, however there are also many issues delivering and accessing legal services in the Borough. The LawTech community is seeking to help the most vulnerable people in the community by solving these issues with technology.”

“ The main problem faced is that 50% of clients drop out after one meeting for a variety of cultural, social and language reasons. We thought that more developers and coders need to be involved in LawTech disruption to combat this problem and the hackathon is a creative and effective way to do this.”

Participants coded through the night (36 hours of no sleep) to develop robust digital solutions, which were judged by a panel that included a representative of Hackney Law Centre and tech industry leaders. Prizes were awarded to the top 3 solutions from 10 x 5 minute pitches that were most likely to improve access to justice by maximising efficiency for the centre and ease for clients to access legal advice. Participants included:

Winner: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer who built this solution from scratch in 24 hours. This is still live: Runners up included an AI automated SMS virtual receptionist and an SMS alert system. Teams were also entered from Mishcon de Reya, Neota Logic and Softools as well at 45 individuals who were paired on the night.

Following the event Hackney Law Centre’s  are inviting selected groups to test their products on potential clients and take their solution further with Hackney Law Centre, with the aim of being used as a pilot by other law centers in the UK and Julie Bishop, Director of Law Centres Network spoke at the closing event on Saturday evening.

Hackathon coding

Miranda Grell, Development Officer at Hackney Law Centre: ” As a small community charity with meager resources, finding new ways to increase our efficiency is of paramount importance to us…We are delighted to be involved in Legal Geek’s ‘Law for Good’ hackathon, as we believe it will help us continue to serve our clients and community to the best of our abilities.”

Matthew Ryder QC:  “It was fascinating to be part of LegalGeek’s Hackathon and watch creative, clever minds in both law and tech spend a whole night, coding and coming up with great apps and ideas for a community law centre in Hackney. It’s yet another sign that London – already a global legal hub – is really embracing the potential of new LawTech projects.”

Julia Salasky, Crowd Justice: “What a thrill to see so many people with such different skill sets giving their weekend to solve one of the hardest problems of the legal sector – how to improve access to advice for the most vulnerable. We were blown away by the creativity of the solutions and the energy of the developers, lawyers and designers who stayed up all night to hack the the problem.” 

 Karen Winton, Managing Parner Nest VC: “Legal Geek’s Law Tech Hackathon for Good with the Hackney Community Law Centre uncovered some unique and creative ideas that have the potential to transform the practise of law within the legal aid environment and greatly improve people’s lives.”

Campbell Unsworth “Law For Good, was great – a hackathon with real impact for a worthy cause.” “Being lawyers in Hackney, we are proud to have been a part of this unique event and to help such fantastic technical talent provide a real impact for the HCLC” 

WINNER: Milos Kresojevic, Enterprise Architect at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer:“Technology has huge potential to improve access to justice for people everywhere. This hackathon has shown what can be done in a very short time. We’ve enjoyed the experience and hope we can help more in the future.”

Join us for Europe’s first Law Tech Hackathon ‘coding for good’. Hackney Community Law Centre (HCLC) is an amazing charity employing solicitors and paralegals to provide free and independent legal advice and representation to people living, working or studying in the London Borough of Hackney and neighbouring boroughs.

The problem for our Law Tech Hackathon:

Working in ‘start-up land’ with huge investments, cool spaces and posh coffee you might not realise life if harder for some of the other residents of Hackney. Despite government cuts HCLC do a great job but they have many issues delivering legal services that can be solved by technology to help the most vulnerable people in our community.

The core problem this Hackathon will address is that 50% of clients drop out after one meeting, for a variety of cultural, social and language reasons. HCLC will start the Hackathon pitching three problem statements around these issues.

The prize:

Prizes up for grabs include:

Non-coder class (separate competition)

We have partnered with SofTools to use as a platform for building a applications without coding. Softools allows you to design and configure simple or complex business process applications using an 8-step process – without the need for software programming.
Softools logo

The panel:

Matthew Ryder Karen Winton Joanna Goodman Cam UnsworthJulia Salaski



  • Teams from the public, private, and legal sector will work together to conceive, build, and pitch technical solutions to tackle specific challenges for Hackney Law Centre.

At the end of the weekend (Saturday Evening), groups will be judged by a panel that includes a representative of Hackney Law Centre, tech leaders from government and our sponsors. The top 3 teams will be awarded prizes (to be announced!).

Our mission

To create robust digital solutions that will enable Hackney Law Centre to deliver legal services in a more efficient way and be used as a pilot to be used by other law centres across the UK.

Post event, at Hackney Law Centre discretion, selected groups will have the opportunity to test their products on potential users and take their solution further with Hackney Law Centre.