SXSW Interactive 2015

Legal Hackers: A global movement to reform the law

It’s a constant refrain: the law fails to keep up with technology, and lawyers themselves are in the dark ages. But what can be done?

A growing movement of “Legal Hackers” may have the answer. Legal Hackers are lawyers, policymakers, technologists, and academics who have applied the “hacker ethic” to the legal profession as a means of fostering ground-up change in an industry that desperately needs it.

Beginning in 2012 in NYC, the legal hacking movement has now spread across the country and, increasingly, around the world. Legal hackers congregate in cities like DC, LA, London, Seattle, and Stockholm. They host “legal hackathons” to tackle issues like access to justice, open data, and digital privacy, and gather in meetups and workshops geared toward lawyers and non-lawyers alike.

In this panel, we will hear from a few of the leaders of the movement about what legal hacking is, how it is changing the legal industry for the better, and what the future holds.

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  1. What are some of the core problems with the legal industry as it stands today? What's the right approach to solving those problems?
  2. There are many different types of groups trying to reform legal practice -- some groups call themselves "legal hackers," others call themselves "legal innovators." What makes these groups different from other legal organizations?
  3. What role is there for non-lawyer entrepreneurs and technologists in reforming the law and legal practice?
  4. While many legal hackers work for large firms or government organizations, legal hackers is still largely an "outsider" movement. Should legal hackers be concerned with this reputation? If so, how can legal hackers work together with traditional legal organizations to bring the movement mainstream?
  5. What can we expect to see a five/ten years from now from the legal hacking movement? What will the community look like?



Jameson Dempsey, Associate, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

Meta Information:

  • Tags: policy, law
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Policy and Civic Engagement
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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