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Global Legal Hackathon: USC Law Prof. Challenges Hackers to Tackle ‘Problems Worth Solving’

Thursday, Feb 22, 2018

A USC law professor is challenging hackers participating in the inaugural Global Legal Hackathon to solve some of the biggest legal issues facing people around the world.

Gillian Hadfield, USC Gould School of Law professor of law and economics, launched the “Hadfield Challenges” for those participating in the hackathon taking place in more than 40 cities and 20 countries worldwide from February 23 to 25.

The Global Legal Hackathon will bring together legal thinkers and technology experts to find ways to improve the legal industry.

“When four billion people worldwide remain excluded from access to justice and as many as 90 per cent of Americans


handle legal problems without any professional help, it’s clear the current legal system is failing,” said Hadfield.

“It’s time to open up legal innovation to those at the forefront of cutting edge technologies and harness their potential to solve some of the biggest and overlooked legal challenges.”

Hadfield, whose book Rules for a Flat World calls for wholesale reform of the legal system and for greater innovation in the design of legal services, will be giving the keynote speech at the Global Legal Hackathon in Los Angeles.

The Hadfield Challenges cover 10 commonly faced or problematic global challenges:

1. Reliable ID for All- Can we build third-party systems to provide the millions of migrants worldwide with a verifiable ID?

2. Blockchain Micro-Contracting for the World – Can we develop a global contracting platform to allow small traders in poor and developing countries to reliably participate in global supply chains?

3. Family Law for All - Formal dispute resolution, be it divorce or inheritance, is either too expensive, too difficult, or not available. Can we come up with more reasonable ways to resolve these cases in countries rich and poor?

4. Levelling the Playing Field for Low Wage Workers - Are there rapid low-cost

ways to guarantee big employers live up to their promises and obligations to employees?

5. New Models of Dispute Resolution - Can we develop platforms that offer real and virtual communities a way to build their own rules, backed by the most effective method humans have of ensuring people follow the rules—legitimately denying rule-breakers the benefit of the platform?

6. Tools to Understand Privacy Policies (and what they mean) - It’s great that AI can identify what terms are in a privacy policy, but can we develop tools thathelp people imagine what those terms might mean to them, concretely?

7. New Ways to Measure Law Student Competency - Law graduates are too often “useless and overpaid”- can we come up with ways for law students to prove their worth besides


8. Plain Language Contracting - The average online terms of service, privacypolicy, and consumer contract is written at a college level or beyond. Can a third partycontracting service offer a better solution that both users and businesses would buy?

9. Eliminate Marijuana Felony Records (USA) - In California, only 5000 of the 1,000,000 eligible to eliminate felonyrecord for marijuana have acted. Can we fix that?

10. Arrest Warrant Challenge Application (USA) - A US Department of Justice investigation of Ferguson, Missouri after the Michael Brownshooting found 16,000 arrest warrants in a town with a population of just 21,000—many, easilychallenged errors in tickets, notices, legal process. Why not a phone app that can diagnose basedon a photo and advise steps to take?

“The Hadfield Challenges offer some of the best opportunities to put emerging technologies to good use and we are excited about the potential results from the Global Legal Hackathon,” said David Fisher, CEO of blockchain for law company, Integra, which is one of the organizers of the Global Legal Hackathon.

“Solving these challenges would benefit, and potentially even transform, the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. We invite interested participants in this year’s Global Legal Hackathon to embrace these challenges and develop solutions that can change the world.”

Teams with particularly impressive solutions to the Hadfield Challenges will be invited to the global awards ceremony in New York, on April 21. More information about the Global Legal Hackathon is available online at:

Anyone interested in taking on one of Prof. Hadfield’s challenges are encouraged to tweet about it using #HadfieldChallenges and the relevant challenge number





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