Monday, 6 july 2020 | Redacción CEU
<<We are going to live the experience, but, why not? We will also try to win>>
Some of the students of our Master’s Degree in Legal Tech have managed to reach the final of the 2020 Global Legal Hackathon. These are Ainhoa Berrocal, Macarena Azcárate Manchado, Leticia Amorós Lozano and David Ruiz Torres. These lawyers, together with the developer Angel Villalba Fernandez- Paniagua, make up the team called Tech-no-thon. If it is possible under the current circumstances, this team will compete in London to become the winner of the best technological solution to boost the justice worldwide. It will do so competing against nine teams from different countries.
In order to achieve this goal, Tech-no-thon has had to overcome a national round, which was incidentally organized by The CEU IAM Business School, and an international virtual semi-final. We have talked with David Ruiz Torres, partner of White Towers Legal (a firm which is specialized in Commercial Law and Legal Tech) and one of the members of Tech-no-thon, to know more details about this competition and how this group is living this experience.
What has led you and your colleagues to participate in this edition of the Global Legal Hackathon? Has this event been your first hackathon?
Yes, it has. In fact, it was the CEU itself that strongly encouraged us to participate, and finally we decided to do it. For me personally, this event has been a big surprised. I did not expect it to be as interesting as it has turned out to be. At first, I have to confess that I first thought that, in addition to working the whole week, I would also have to work on the weekend as well. It is true that it was hard and we worked a lot, but it has been a very positive experience.
For those people who do not know this event, could you briefly explain what the Global Legal Hackathon consists of?
It is an international competition in which different technological law solutions are offered. In particular, this hackathon has been divided into three rounds. The first one was organized by countries. It consisted of three days of work in which different teams had to prepare an MVP, explaining it to a jury for five minutes and defending it in front of the same jury for another fifteen minutes. The second round was held virtually. In it, we had to create a video explaining what the project consisted of and what solution we offered. And the third round, if possible, will be held in London. We do not know all the details about the final, but I think the proposal will be similar to that of the first phase.
What is the project with which you have managed to get a place at the final?
Our project is called "Crowdlegalling". It is a participatory funding platform in which we intend to connect individuals and legal entities that need financing to access justice, due to all the costs that litigation may entail, with investors. In this way, investors will bear all or a substantial part of the expenses. In the event that there is a profit because the court rules in favor of these individuals or legal entities, the investors will profit from a percentage of the profits that are obtained.
Designing a project like this from scratch and practically in a weekend is not easy. Can you tell us what the process of conception for this project was like?
After a rough start, in which our first developer abandoned us and our new developer Ángel rescued us, what we did was to work in a very coordinated way. We dedicated the first day mainly to deciding which solution would be the chosen one. From there on, we considered what problems we would find in our way. Our team is made up of four attorneys and it was important that we put the focus on the legal side. Subsequently, we designed the platform’s functionalities and thought about what questions we should not forget. Due to the characteristics of the product, we also focused our attention on how we could evaluate the possibilities of success in the different lawsuits so that investors would be effectively encouraged to participate. I think that due to the nature of the product, this aspect is key.
What, in your opinion, has led you to winning both the national round and the semifinal?
At first, our expectation was to participate and get to know what an event of this nature was like. We knew that there were very strong teams. Top-level national firms have participated in this event, but, as it is said in the world of soccer, we “played our game”. We coordinated with each other in the best way we knew, by fulfilling our functions and, finally, we managed to design a consistent product that, from the first round, aroused quite a lot of interest. The second round was more complicated, since it took place in the midst of the COVID crisis. Even so, we managed to create a video that I consider is quite good and funny and it has been able to convey to the jury what we offer.