Wednesday, March 9, 2016

CourtHack 2016 a Great Success!

This past weekend the NCSC team working with HackerNest held the first ever CourtHack event.  I can say without qualification that it was great!  More...


Over 70 developers and designers converged on the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah starting on Friday, March 4th and continuing for over 27 hours until the evening of March 5th when presentations and awards were made in a “hack-a-thon”. What is a “hack-a-thon” you might ask?

According to “techopedia”:
"A hackathon is a gathering where programmers collaboratively code in an extreme manner over a short period of time. Hackathons are at least a few days - or over a weekend - and generally no longer than a week. While working on a particular project, the idea is for each developer to be have the ability and freedom to work on whatever he/she wants.”
So for an intensive and long day nearly 80 programmers and designers worked on systems for “Making justice fair and accessible for all” at CourtHack.  Specific questions and challenges were:

  1. Accountability: Predictive Analytics to Target Court Oversight
  2. Public Access to Justice: Apps, Tools, and Processes to improve access to justice and allow the public to resolve disputes efficiently
  3. Legal Speed: Remote dispatch of emergency protection orders
  4. Wild Card: Gaps in the Court System such as difficulties in dealing with jury service and landlord-tenant disputes.

The resulting systems were to be judges on their impact, usability, practicality, feasibility, and “coolness”.

A terrific video was made that can give you a sense of the event and the participants.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words…

The NCSC, working with HackerNest gathered a team of experts in courts, court technology, and systems to serve as mentors to the teams.  And a distinguished group of judges were assembled to judge the three minute demonstrations of actual working code at the end of the hackathon.

And… there was a winner!

The Grand Prize was awarded to the “Robot Lawyer” team (shown below).  They created a chat based natural language application for interacting with the courts using interactive bot technology.

And if you don’t understand what I just wrote, they will be refining the software and sharing it at the e-Courts Conference in Las Vegas this coming December.  You have yet another reason for attending.

Other awards and all the projects submitted are listed on the event website at:

There were some amazing sponsors supporting the event including prize award sponsor, OneLegal along with Cisco, Harman, tblnetworks, the Utah Technology Council, TechCrunch, CITOC, COSCA-NACM Joint Technology Committee, Beehive Startups, Devmountain, Voices for Civil Justice, Solo Practice University, Utah Valley University, The University of Utah, Weber State University, Brigham Young University, Salt Lake Community College, Utah State University, The Iron Yard, Tech for Justice, 3D Hubs, Open Legal Services, IBO, Open Salt Lake, and V-School.
Of course there was a massive amount of social media posted.  Check out:


NCSC Facebook:

HackerNest Facebook:

Thanks to all the participants and sponsors for a great event and a great outcome.

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