Nigeria hosts its first legal hackathon

The Nigerian legal industry is in the midst of profound transformation with the first major legal tech event – the Legal Hackathon being organised in Lagos, Nigeria.

The event, which was hosted by S. P. A. Ajibade & Co. in collaboration with the Global Legal Hackathon, took place in 21 countries, 40 cities across 6 continents concurrently, from 23rd – 25th February 2018.

The Lagos event brought together stakeholders in the legal and technology industry in an intense 54-hour sprint of legal tech education, creativity and invention for the rapid development of solutions for improving the legal industry in Nigeria.

It was an opportunity for law firms, law schools, in-house counsel and technology companies to actively collaborate and proffer solutions that can initiate and contribute meaningfully to global legal development. Participants were divided into teams and built solutions geared towards progressing the business of law and facilitating access to justice.

Teams made up of lawyers, law students, program developers and graphic designers built working applications, proofs of concept, prototypes, as well as presentation materials to explain, pitch, and present the application to the judges.

The competition was ably judged by Olumide Akpata, Chairman, Nigerina Bar Association Section on Business La, and Partner and Head of Corporate and Commercial practice at Templars; Prof. Bankole Sodipo, Senior Partner of G. O Sodipo & Co; Basil Udotai, Managing Partner of Technology Advisors LLP; and Tunde Sobajo, Enterprise Solution Architect and Software Engineer.

The wining team developed an application to automate and simplify the interface between the police, the courts and the Ministry of Justice. The application will serve as a one stop centre for reasonable interaction between those needing justice and those serving the ends of justice. The application also has functionalities to automatically assign to verified indigents, a lawyer willing to provide pro bono services. The application intends to generate initial funds via seed capital through grants and sponsorships from companies seeking to fulfill their corporate social responsibilities (CSR).

Other innovative applications by the runners up were efficient electronic case filing management systems to digitalize record keeping systems and aid speedy resolutions, transparency and accountability.