Joy Bradley from Wavelength discusses how LawWithoutWalls succeeds as a collaborative competition.
Collaborative Competition: LawWithoutWalls ConPosium 2019 by Joy Bradley
As the returning Legal Engineering Partner for LawWithoutWalls (LWOW) 2019, we have spent the last 3 months supporting this year’s teams of students with legal engineering advice to enable them to create innovative and technically viable Projects of Worth.
In the midst of the ConPosium (where teams present their projects to a diverse community of lawyers, academics, specialists and peers), I have been considering how distinctly special LWOW is as a program and the value it offers to all who participate. It nurtures new cohorts of innovatively-minded teams of students in a challenging competition environment where they can push their creativity and imagination further to practically solve real issues in legal services and education. It’s fundamentally a competition but in practice, it is a collaborative competition.
Underlying the competition is a community of friends and colleagues. Each team may be working against each other for ‘Best Overall’ but there remains a spirit to help and encourage others. This is a unique quality not usually present in other competitive programs.
This spirit isn’t merely limited to the student teams but is also prevalent across the rest of the community. Mentors, team leaders, thought leaders, program sponsors and even the judges champion the supportive community LWOW has managed to cultivate. However, the one real distinguishing feature of LWOW that I hadn’t realised until making the transition from law student to legal professional, was how outside this contained community, all these law firms, lawyers, companies, universities (sponsors or not) are in competition with each other. Yet, still every year volunteers and sponsors return to donate their knowledge and experience to a new generation of legal innovators. This year was no different and ended with the most diverse results yet.
Projects ranged from complex syndicated loans to protecting the environment through reducing food waste.
SmartSyndi – Overall winner of 2019
This team, sponsored by HSBC, featured everyone’s favourite topic: Syndicated Loans. They managed to explain their issue clearly and interactively, allowing them to present their cutting-edge solution, a blockchain-based software solution for syndicated loans which harnesses the power of smart contracts. Banks are then enabled to manage their syndicated loans in a transparent and client-centric way.
STU – Winner Best Branding
Sponsored by Accenture, STU tackled the important issue of global food waste. Our Chief Legal Engineer, Drew Winlaw helped to support and mentor this team. The team delivered an impactful presentation highlighting the challenges of food waste and the role that every individual should play to preserve our planet’s resources. Their team created an app that provides consumers with consistent information on food freshness to combat food waste at home. STU consists of a food tracker, a sniffer, recipes, guidance, and a community function to ensure users are equipped to change their food behaviours.
ProPosal – Winner Best Business Plan
Sponsored by iManage, team ProPosal set out to tackle a universal problem for all businesses: Requests for Proposals or RFPs. By leveraging new technologies and smart processes, they built an AI-driven solution that cuts the response time for RFPs which automatically searches and suggests best practice answers as well as identifying internal areas of expertise by using the firm’s most successful proposals as a data source.
Recruitment in the legal sector is often a long, complex path for all candidates but the journey is also complex for recruiters. Bad hires can be costly and time consuming. This team set out to build AIA, artificial intelligence aggregation and distribution software for law firms' HR teams to assist screening applications. AIA compares AI HR application software to streamline recruitment processes, while also increasing trust and confidence in AI.
About the author: Joy Bradley is a Legal Operations Paralegal at Wavelength Law and Quarterback for LawWithoutWalls after previously taking part in the initiative.