The SMU Legal Innovation and Technology (LIT) Hackathon 2021 took place virtually this year from 13 – 15 August, with over 170 participants. Organised by the SMU LIT Club for the second year, the competition aims to bring together students from all Singapore institutes of higher learning to tackle legal tech issues faced in law, business and the community.
In groups of three to five which comprised at least one law student, the students were tasked to develop technological solutions to real-world problem statements provided by industry partners. These included topics such as automating research, legal analytics and access to justice.
The theme of this year’s hackathon, “The Next Decade in Legal Tech in Singapore”, was inspired by the Ministry of Law’s Legal Industry Technology & Innovation Roadmap Report—The Road to 2030, which was unveiled by Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law in 2020.
The top three teams had the opportunity to win cash prizes ranging from S$1,500 to S$3,500. In addition, there were subsidiary prizes worth S$1,000 each, such as the Dentons Rodyk Access to Justice Award, LexisNexis ‘Advancing What’s Possible’ Award, Clifford Chance Impact Award, and Singapore Academy of Law’s Best Tool to improve Law Firm Operations & Productivity Award. The AWS Cloud Award gave away Amazon tablets and swag boxes.
The virtual awards ceremony was graced by Guest-of-Honour Ms Lai Wei Lin, Permanent Secretary for Law and Second Permanent Secretary for Education. She said, “Increasingly law firms will need to use technology to keep up and offer greater value for money… what we need to recognize and adapt to is the ability of technology to augment, not replace, what humans can do.”
Team QWERTY, which consisted of Lee Yu Hao, Aw Khai Loong, SMU School of Computing and Information Systems (SCIS), Natalia Mai Do Ngoc, Galen Ong and Ezra Lim, Yong Pung How School of Law (YPHSL) were crowned overall champions at the event.
The team recognised the challenges of navigating the legal system for the average person on the street today, and conceptualised “LowerTheBar”, an application that leverages on speech recognition, deep learning and an AR experience to provide applicants with a seamless, accurate and immersive experience to help lay people gain access to justice.
First runners-up Team Astrazenacca created “Luman”, a one-stop application that caters specifically to legal professionals. It includes mental wellness resources, various help-channels, and a space for legal professionals to stay connected to each other. The team included SMU YPHSL student Tan Min Hui, and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students Tan Jun Han, Teo Boon Khang, Chan Ming Kai Alvin and Jolene Tan.
Second runners-up Team BariSTARS conceived an integrated app, “LawyerMatch” aimed at easing legal navigation for financially strained individuals who are ineligible for legal aid. The client-lawyer matching algorithm and chatbot assistant help ease their process of finding lawyers who possess the required expertise at suitable price points. The team was made up of SMU YPHSL students Carine Teo, Patricia Seow, NTU students Fabrianne Effendi, Clarissa Bella Jew and National University of Singapore’s Geraldine Soo.
The top three teams would be featured in TechLaw.Fest 2021, Singapore’s largest Legal Tech expo, to be held in September 2021. Heartiest congratulations to all the winners!
The SMU LIT Hackathon 2021 Organising Committee was supervised by Associate Professor Warren Chik, Assistant Professor Dorcas Quek and Assistant Professor Jerrold Soh. Committee members included YPHSL students of the SMU LIT Club - Nanda Min Htin, Nunis Mikael Keith, Alex Fong Ming Kai, Jade Lee Yuzhi, Julian Loke E-Qen, Elizabeth Santhosh, Joshua Lim Jun Yi, Clement Soh Zheng Heng, Duncan Lim Liang Wei, Arvind Soundararajan and Amos Anthony Aow.