Practicum Students Present App Designs

December 6, 2013 — This semester’s award for the “Best Iron Tech Lawyer” went to the team with the MIDAS touch — the Military Impact of Discharge Assessment System touch, that is. Created by three Technology, Innovation, and Law Practice practicum students — Lindsey Bohl (L’14), Kyle George (L’14) and Thomas Orsak (L’14) — the “MIDAS” application (or app) aims to help adjudicators at the Department of Veterans Affairs determine whether a service member is eligible for VA benefits.

The students worked with a U.S. Army judge advocate to address the issue of eligibility, which affects more than 22 million veterans and their dependents. “We have roughly calculated there are about 300 million possible permutations … that our app can put out,” Orsak said.

The award for Best Design went to a California Foreclosure Advisor application designed by Shahzadi Ahmed (L’14), Angela Omiyi (L’14), Michael Milea (L’15) and Johnny Wong (L’16). An Affordable Care Act Advisor, created by Amanda Krause (L’14), William Morrison (L’14), Gerald Leverich (L’14) and Jessica Nyman (L’14), took Honorable Mention.

The students presented their apps in Hart Auditorium on December 4. It was the third Iron Tech Lawyer competition and the first to concentrate on apps for administrative and regulatory agencies. 

 “All the apps that you are going to hear about are about getting benefits that are available through administrative agencies or [working] inside the regulatory agencies, making the work more efficient,” said Professor Tanina Rostain, who taught the class along with Professor Victoria Nourse.

Someday, the students hope to see their apps on government websites. But for now, simply completing their projects is an accomplishment. 

“The amount of research that went into this, the areas of law that you had to master in a very short time — it is exactly what you have to do when you clerk … [and also] when you go into practice or government,” said Professor Laura Donohue, who judged this year’s competition along with Andrew Baker of Seyfarth Shaw, Mark Chandler of Cisco and Donna McLean, formerly of the Department of Transportation. 

A webcast is available here. For media coverage of the event, click on the links to read "Students Create Obamacare App" by the National Journal and to hear Rostain speaking on Federal News Radio.


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