Iron Tech Lawyer Invitational
Welcome to the Iron Tech Lawyer Invitational, an international competition for student-created tech solutions that help bridge the justice gap! Student teams from around the world showcase legal tech and data analysis tools they have developed to help improve access to justice.
The third annual Iron Tech Invitational 2022 will be held virtually April 28-29, 2022. To qualify, the tools must have been completed for a pro bono organizational client, and developed in an academic course or supervised independent study over the course of the current academic school year. For full competition rules and how to get involved for 2022, see below.
The invitational is an open version of Georgetown’s Iron Tech Lawyer Competition, which has now been in operation for 12 semesters under the leadership of Georgetown Professor Tanina Rostain. Each year, Georgetown students create apps for pro bono organizational clients and face off in a intraschool competition just like the international invitational.
The 2021 Winners of the Iron Tech Lawyers Invitational are:
This app facilitates formal complaints against the Calgary Police Service and, in so doing, improve upon the current complaint systems. The project was initiated and designed in consultation with Evan Woolley, City Councillor for Ward 8 of Calgary, and his assistant Michael Mooney. In consultation, the following objectives were established for the complaint system: functional and easy to use; accessible to people of varied backgrounds and abilities; a legally sound and technologically secure design; and provides a tangible result that keeps the Calgary Police Service accountable. From these goals, the project was designed around six criteria—functionality, ease of use, privacy, accountability, informative, and aesthetic.
The Team:Prabhjot K. Punnia, JD, 2022
Denis Ram, JD, 2021
Karyna Omelchenko, JD, 2022
Darren Wagner, JD, 2022
SECOND PLACE (Shared):
Living with Conviction utilizes storytelling and legal empowerment strategies to advocate for an end to legal financial obligations (LFOs), which courts impose on criminal defendants at the time of sentencing. Until recently, LFOs, i.e., fines, fees, costs, and victim restitution, accrued at a 12% interest rate. Today, thanks to LFO reforms, formerly incarcerated individuals now may file a motion with the court to request a waiver of the interest accrued on non-restitution LFOs.The Justice in Motion app guides users (formerly incarcerated individuals) through a streamlined app to fill out a motion to be submitted to the court. The app acknowledges the reality that the majority of our target audience will be pro se litigants. As a result, the app attempts to allow people to assist themselves by providing an easy-to-understand breakdown of “Next Steps” instructions in addition to the motion packet.
The Team:Jahi Beal, JD, 2022
Claire Brown, JD, 2022
Sabrina Pearce, JD, 2022
Alessandra Schaszberger, JD, 2021
When someone passes on in Singapore, their estate must be administered by either the Executor of their will, or an Administrator if they died intestate. A Grant of Letters of Administration or Probate, obtained via an application to the court, is necessary for the administration of a deceased’s estate. While the existing process was designed to permit applications without a lawyer’s assistance, it becomes tedious as applicants have to be physically present and handwrite their applications at the service bureau. Moreover, the form is couched in inaccessible “legalese” and any errors in the application would bring applicants back to square one. ProbateHelpers plugs this time and resource intensive lacuna by enabling most of the application to be done online and remotely, while simplifying the language used. It also seeks to better inform applicants about the process and reduce errors with its accompanying visual guide and explanations.
The Team:Teo Sijing, LLB, 2021
Pek Hui Leng Jolene, Bachelor of Science (Information Systems), 2022
Nur Shukrina Binte Abdul Salam, LLB, 2021
Wong Min Hui, LLB, 2022
Sim Qian Hui, LLB, 2022
Victor Tang, LLB, 2021
2022 Invitational Rules
Projects will be evaluated by a panel of experts in access to civil justice, legal design and technology. The winning team will be awarded funding support to advance or complete their technology or data science solution.
The Iron Tech Lawyer Invitational is designed to encourage the creation of academic courses focused on the thoughtful development of technology and data-driven solutions to help improve the civil justice system. Student teams must be supported by a professor, and complete their project in an academic course, clinic or independent study.
Teams may consist of an individual student or a larger group. Students from any accredited academic institution of higher education may participate, including schools outside of the United States. All materials and the project pitch must be submitted in English.
Professors who are interested in sending a student team to the Invitational must meet the following criteria:
- The students must complete a student project in an academic program, i.e. in an academic course, clinic, or supervised independent study.
- The student project must involve the creation of a technology tool or data project that strengthens legal service delivery or otherwise improves access to the civil legal system.
- The student project must be developed for a “client” that is a non-profit legal services provider, other non-profit, or law school clinic that assists people with their civil legal problems.
- The client must be involved with the project from an early stage in order to serve the role of a subject matter expert and allow students to develop professional skills.
- The student project must be supported by a faculty sponsor, such as the teacher of the course or supervisor of an independent study. Adjunct professors, lecturers and other teaching professionals are eligible to sponsor a project, provided they are listed as a professor for the academic course in which the project will be completed.
- Sponsoring faculty need not be law faculty. The competition is open to all departments within a university, though projects must focus on a civil legal tech or data science solution developed to improve access to the civil justice system.
- The student project must be completed in one semester (or the equivalent*) during the 2020-2021 academic year. Professors may only submit one student project per course offering or program. Different professors who offer separate courses at the same university may each sponsor student teams. Faculty who teach at two or more schools may sponsor student teams from each school in which they teach.
- The project submitted must be the work of the student team. Faculty and students will be asked to document any assistance received by the students and sign an honor code statement. All hands-on work must be done directly by the student team.
- Projects may build upon prior work, but students must document their specific contributions, and will only be evaluated for the specific work they completed during the competition period.
- Faculty Interest Form. Professors who are interested in sending a student team to the Iron Tech Invitational must complete a faculty interest form by October 21, 2021. (This form may not be submitted by students). The Faculty Interest Form is intended as a high-level expression of interest; you do not yet need to select which students you will send, and client organizations and specific projects need not be identified. The 2022 faculty interest form can be found here.
- Follow-Up. Professors who have submitted a Faculty Interest Form will be contacted by the organizers to discuss the competition, shared pedagogical goals, and eligibility.
- Faculty Application. Professors must submit an Application to secure a slot for one student project from their course or academic offering. Applicable deadlines are in the table below. At this stage, faculty must identify their client organizations and specific student projects. If the professor is supervising multiple student projects, they need not have selected which student project they will send to the Invitational. We expect that many professors will run their own mini-Iron Tech Competition to select which student team they sponsor for the Invitational.
- Selection of Qualifying Faculty. The Invitational’s organizers will confirm that qualifying faculty have met the above-described criteria and have been accepted to sponsor a student team for the Invitational.
- Submission of Final Student Projects & Documentation. Qualifying faculty will notify the Invitational’s organizers of the student project they have chosen to represent them, and submit a link to the final project and supporting documentation. Teams must cease all work at the end of the allotted period for the competition. Students and faculty will be asked to sign an honor statement indicating they will not work to improve or change their tool after the academic period ends.
Supporting documentation will include:
- Project name and short-form description
- Royalty-free image to illustrate the project in Invitational materials
- Identification of software used for the project
- Honor code statement
- Description of any templates, models or other sources relied on in developing the project
- Deployment plan for how the project is intended to be used, and how the project is suitable for scaling or replication for other organizations
- Description of how the project serves the client needs and differs from existing tools serving similar needs
- If the project expands upon prior work, description of work completed by the student team during the competition period.
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