Solving Real Problems with the Social Justice Hackathon

Bringing Justice to the Justice System

Putting the bad guy away and receiving justice is a big reason why we have legal aid in the united States. But unfortunately there have been cases where justice has not been served. Sometimes people don’t have the money to get the proper legal aid they need. Law student at Seattle University, Miguel Willis, was really troubled by this situation and believed that the answer lied in getting people better access to legal aid. But how? By creating the Social Justice Hackathon.

justice-system

In November, the Social Justice Hackathon began by bringing brilliant minds together to rack up new ways to bring justice to all. For two days, 70 technology innovators as well as law professionals addressed issues within the legal aid system. The goal was to take these issues and find a way to improve upon them. Willis stated, “The need for legal services far outpaces their availability.” According to Willis, there are three reasons as to why getting legal aid is difficult:

  1. Lack of education
  2. Lack of money
  3. Pro-Bono services are too busy

With this event Willis explained:

“The goal of the Social Justice Hackathon was to use innovation, collaboration, and technology to increase the access to legal services to underrepresented communities. By having a variety of people at the table – tech people, students, law professionals – we can creatively think about what solutions we can find through technology to address this problem.”

3 Finalists

Since the event 3 teams were chosen to develop their work in order to help the legal aid system progress. On February 3rd, the teams presented their ideas. These included:

  • The Social Justice League – A mobile webpage that allows lawyers to send clients documents all through their cell phone. This creates more time for the lawyer to assist their other clients.
  • The Court Whisperer – This is a portal that acts as a guide for people who need to represent themselves while also filling out legal documents and learning court processes. In a way it’s like your own personal lawyer translator.
  • Paid It! – For situations dealing with housing rent and a landlord, Paid it! is your best friend. This invention is all about keeping track of your payment methods so in case you ever needed it in legal situations, it would be recorded. Tenants who failed to have bank accounts sometimes had no proof that they had paid their rent. Paidit! Would prevent an issue like this from escalating.

Willis said, “The core purpose of the hackathon is to solve real problems.” While Skild did not create the crowdsource platform for this event, we are still more than proud to be in the business that builds hackathons and competitions like this. Because of the Social Justice Hackathon, there is more opportunity for legal aid to those who lack the resources and money.

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