Tech Challenge photo finish
In the end, it was a photo finish and a dead heat.
After five long months of planning, preparation and practice, the Allens Neota UTS Law Tech Challenge for Social Justice culminated in an exciting grand final.
Students were asked to come up with ideas which utilise app technology to help promote access to justice for those who can least afford it.
Twenty students, enrolled in the Faculty's Brennan Justice and Leadership programme, formed five teams and each team included an Allens representative.
They worked with NGO’s to identify a problem within the organisation and come up with a solution using their legal skills and Neota software technology.
Chief Legal and Technology Services Officer at Allens, Beth Patterson says it wasn’t an easy challenge.
The students had to innovate, be agile and creative. They had to use their legal skills and design thinking, brand and pitch like a start-up and run a social media campaign all at the same time.
The team names were B-Hive, Justice by Design, The UpCycle, ThinkForward and Ripple.
They each presented to the judging panel of UTS Law Dean, Lesley Hitchens, Allens Financial Services Regulation partner, Simun Soljo and Blackrock Managing Director, Alison Telfer.
And the joint winners were …. Justice by Design and B-Hive.
The Justice by Design team worked with Melbourne pro bono legal service, JusticeConnect to create a process which helps people threatened with eviction to develop their own Dear Landlord letter which includes a payment plan builder.
There are seven stages in the eviction process and the app caters for each stage.
It streamlines the legal process and means JusticeConnect can quickly assist many thousands of clients who might otherwise be waiting for long periods.
Team B-hive addressed the needs of the Refugee Legal Centre which books clients for visa consultations only to find that they don’t have the proper documentation with them which slows down the process and increases their waiting time.
B-hive created an app called Refugee Legal Express which explains the necessary documentation and walks the visa applicant through the simple steps of photographing and uploading.
They can then attend their meeting and start the visa application process immediately.
The app has been tried, tested and implemented and has already cut the Refugee Legal Centres’ waiting times by a third.
The award for the best social media campaign went to Team Ripple.
UTS Law’s Dr Philippa Ryan oversees the Challenge and says the teams exceeded expectations.
Their hard work and ingenuity has enabled innovative solutions via elegant and impressive apps. The collaboration between Neota Logic, Allens and UTS creates a unique opportunity for our students to experience practice-authentic team work that supports access to social justice. What impresses me most is how positive and transforming this experience is for everyone involved.
The Tech challenge will run again next year.