Can an app help the vulnerable and powerless gain access to justice? During this weekend’s Tech for Justice Hackathon+, attorneys, law students, programmers, and concerned stakeholders will gather in Austin to develop technology that could serve those in need of legal services.
On Feb. 21-22, Hackathon+ participants will focus on two problem sets—one addressing co-parenting conflicts and one focusing on the needs of courts as they monitor the estates of people under guardianships—and work together to produce proof of concepts and prototypes that tackle the issues at hand. At the end of the event, a winning team will take home $1,000. All will be encouraged to continue to develop their ideas through mentoring, data sharing, and partnerships.
According to event coordinator Hannah Hubbard, the idea of Hackathon+ started from a Texas Legal Services Center conversation about developing apps that would assist parents who are going through divorce and child custody. Shared parenting and guardianship issues were selected as a focus because the two areas create some of the most case backlogs. The hackathon has partners from several legal and judicial institutions, including the Texas Judicial Council, Legal Services Corporation, and the Supreme Court of Texas. Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht will deliver the event’s opening remarks.
“If we can develop ways to help these processes run more smoothly, it will be of benefit to both the court system and those dealing with these issues,” Hubbard said.
There is no cost to participate in Tech for Justice Hackathon+, which will be held at Captial Factory, 701 Brazos St., Austin 78701. To sign up and learn more, go to techforjustice.org.