Using technology to make a difference
For the second year in a row, it was a dead heat in UTS Law’s Allens Neota Tech Challenge but the two winning apps deal with very different problems.
Harnessing technology to achieve positive legal outcomes for the most disadvantaged in our community is the focus of the annual Challenge.
Twenty Brennan students form five teams and each team includes an Allens representative.
They work with NGO’s to identify a problem within the organisation and come up with a solution using their legal skills and Neota software technology to create apps.
Allens Managing partner, Richard Spurio is one of the judges and always takes a keen interest in the competition:
We are really pleased to be involved because, as a firm, we want to shape the future using our values and our creativity to solve problems. We have a strong commitment to innovation and the use of technology to make a real difference.
The other two judges are UTS Law Dean, Lesley Hitchens and Blackrock Managing Director, Alison Telfer.
And the 2019 winners are: an app to help solve neighbourhood disputes and an app to help prioritise the legal issues of migrants and refugees.
Team Pod’s entry, The App Next Door, is designed for the Inner City Legal Centre which is often swamped with requests for assistance in disputes between neighbours.
Many of these disputes have the potential to be solved with relevant information rather than specific legal advice and the App helps categorise and prioritise these disputes; freeing up Centre time for appointments with clients who actually need legal assistance.
Team InterAct’s entry, InfoCollect is for a Perth based community legal centre called The Humanitarian Group.
The Centre helps refugees and migrants with a range of legal issues but often spends hours each week meeting people who aren’t actually eligible to use their service.
The InfoCollect app is designed for people whose primary language is not English. It triages potential clients by determining eligibility as well as assisting those whose needs fall outside the Centre’s jurisdiction thereby saving the organisation both time and money.
For all the students involved, the Tech challenge is a valuable learning experience which helps them acquire the kind of cutting edge technology skills they’ll need for their future legal work.
UTS Law Honorary Professional Fellow, Beth Patterson says there are frequent calls for lawyers to embrace new technology:
This Challenge demonstrates that through partnerships, teamwork and collaboration, students can adapt technology to solve legal problems – it shows that embracing technology is not something for the future – in fact, we’re already doing it.