SMU LIT Hackathon: what is it and why it is impactful to the innovation & legal tech ecosystem
The third edition of the SMU Legal Innovation & Technology (LIT) Hackathon attracted over 140 students from all Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore. In teams of 4 to 6, participants were tasked to develop legal tech solutions to address problem statements featuring real-world challenges faced by the legal industry.
We are impressed by the quality of ideas presented and excited to see the winning team's prototype built based on a problem statement by Clifford Chance. Team Hotel Trivia Go came up with a solution to automate the tedious process of extracting relevant economic data from financial statements for lawyers' drafting of Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A). Not only will the risk of human error be minimised, but lawyers can also save time on formulaic data entry work.
Create+65 Innovation Lead Joanne Chuang sat on the judging panel, while Legal Technology Advisor Chantelle Parkinson joined as an Industry Expert who provided participants with feedback on their prototypes before the final submission. Regional Programme Director Andrew Beasley was also featured in a panel discussion on the Efficiency of Work Processes.
We speak to some of the participants, organisers, and representatives of Clifford Chance to find out why experience such as the SMU LIT Hackathon is meaningful and how they are preparing for a future disrupted by technology transformation in the legal sector.
Tell us about this year's theme and its importance in addressing challenges in the legal industry.
The theme for this year's Hackathon is called the Big Leap Forward, which is very pertinent to Singapore and our legal sector. We are still dwelling on the aftereffects of the pandemic and the changes we had to make. We shifted to remote working, which was a big leap for the legal industry, but now we have to take the big leap forward. What is the next step after this? How do we deal with the challenges and help the legal industry be more time and cost efficient through innovation and the adoption of legal technology?
Through the SMU LIT Hackathon, we aim to help the legal industry answer some of these questions by bringing together young people from different disciplines with a diverse set of skills to be creative and innovative in coming up with solutions that could potentially address some of these real-world problem statements provided by industry partners.
- Elizabeth Santhosh, Vice President of SMU LIT Club 2022
What do you think is the impact of the Hackathon?
We see two positive impacts that this Hackathon would bring. Firstly, it will inspire the younger generation to venture into Innovation & Legal Technology, to give generously of themselves for the advancement of our society. The participants will be humbled by this experience and are ready to cultivate a growth mindset and adopt legal technology confidently even before they enter the workforce.
Secondly, its potential to bring new and innovative solutions to the Legal Technology sphere is something valuable to the industry. We hope to see more innovative solutions coming forward from future editions of the SMU LIT Hackathon.
- Jade Lee, President of SMU LIT Club 2022
What is your key takeaway from this Hackathon?
My key takeaway is the understanding of how technology can be used to unify our stakeholders and embolden their efforts to better serve our community's legal needs at a low cost and a fast pace. I realise the value of having modular, agile teams with a diverse set of expertise to ensure that we can customise solutions for our clients as they are everchanging.
- Juhi Agrawal, Team Penteract, Runner-up and Winner of the Access to Justice Prize
From the perspective of an industry expert, how do you feel about events such as the Hackathon?
It was exciting to see events such as the SMU LIT Hackathon focusing on preparing law students for new innovations and new ways of working in the legal field. I think legal tech is a crucial area for modern lawyers to develop skills and bring new trends as the profession faces new challenges.
Having this focus at an education level helps to increase the growing number of lawyers who are comfortable thinking about and adopting technology at the earliest point of their careers, entrenching it into their everyday practices and driving innovation forward.
- Chantelle Parkinson, Legal Technology Advisor at Clifford Chance
The Big Leap Forward
Law school curriculums and practical industry experience through legal internships, without an aspect focusing on Innovation & Legal Technology, are no longer sufficient for modern challenges and aspirations in the legal sector for the next generation of legal professionals. Legal work today, along with client expectations, has increased in complexity. It is now an unmistakable reality that the solution to these modern challenges lies in the collective effort of people working together with diverse skills.
There are undisputed benefits for the industry to innovate and adopt technology, and it is important for all legal professionals to have a spirit of adventure and an appetite for discovery. There are rich and ample opportunities in this space, so leverage technology to continuously work smarter, find your niche, and build something unique to you.
Always look for the next big leap to stay ahead of the competition and to champion innovation in the legal arena.
Team Hotel Trivia Go comprises of members Liu Ze Wei Martin, Ramasamy Vighnesh, and Ho Shu Hao Eugene from Singapore Management University, together with Chen Xin Han, Toh Jing Hua, and Ong Tsien Jin from Nanyang Technological University.