Students Built Software Applications to Address Corporate Legal Operations Challenges
New York, NY (July 23, 2020) – New York Law School (NYLS) is pleased to announce the winner and finalists of “HackNYLS 2020,” a virtual hackathon competition open to all NYLS students this past spring semester with a $1,000 prize for the winner. Participants in the competition conceived of and built software applications designed to meet the challenges of corporate legal operations and compliance.
The hackathon was overseen by Professor Houman Shadab, a software developer and an expert in enterprise technology, legaltech, and commercial transactions. Professor Shadab became Director of NYLS’s Innovation Center for Law and Technology on July 1, 2020.
“The future of legal practice will not only involve lawyers using sophisticated software but will also involve lawyers developing sophisticated software,” Professor Shadab said. “HackNYLS reflects the School’s commitment to training students to embrace technology and become leaders in digital transformation, the startup economy, and innovation in legal services.”
Participating students created their applications using Bubble, a visual software development platform. This platform enabled them to create customizable, full-stack applications that can integrate with external systems using application programming interfaces (APIs).
The judges for HackNYLS 2020 were Steven R. Harber ’92, legaltech entrepreneur and Innovation Center Advisory Board Member; Jeanne Somma, Legal Insights Executive and Counsel at ayfie and Adjunct Professor at NYLS; and Erik Israni, Esq., Startup Evangelist at Bubble.
The Winning App
The winning submission, Client Update, was created by Jennifer Frank ’20. Client Update provides an integrated platform for managing the relationship between attorneys and their clients, including corporate counsel. Attorneys and clients can use the tool to create new matters, update task lists, organize file repositories, and engage in confidential chats. All of these items can be attached to a shared calendar, which enables users to search for and organize items in multiple ways.
“Participating in HackNYLS 2020 was useful far beyond the competition itself,” Frank said. “It has improved my future job opportunities by building my skills as a multifaceted attorney capable of providing both traditional lawyering and increasingly valuable technology-driven services.”
Privacy.fyi, created by Maria Samson ’20, enables companies to quickly view up-to-date information on any state’s privacy laws and to save that information to their database for later review, sorting, and sharing with colleagues. The application obtains real-time privacy law updates by connecting to Google’s Programmable Search Engine API.
Negotiation Dashboard, created by John Christopher Lopez 2L Evening, digitizes salary negotiations to help legal and business professionals keep track of negotiation outcomes and view trends. The application also compares negotiated salaries versus market rates by pulling in real-time data from the CareerOneStop API.
AML (Anti-Money Laundering) Compliance Check, created by Serene Qandil 3L, enables compliance and risk professionals at financial institutions and their external auditors to better communicate and reduce risk by creating reports about client accounts that can be sorted, searched, shared internally, and exported. AML Compliance Check also has a checklist tool to help general counsel and internal compliance teams prepare for regulatory exams.
Preparing Students to Lead in Law and Technology
NYLS provides robust courses, activities, and programming at the intersection of law, technology, and business through its highly specialized academic centers and institutes.
- The Innovation Center for Law and Technology focuses on the intersection of law and technology and related fields, including digital transformation; intellectual property; cybersecurity; data and applied sciences; and fashion, sports, media, and entertainment.
- The Center for Business and Financial Law provides curricular and extracurricular offerings focused on deal-making, transactional skills, startups, technology financing, and compliance. Amid rapid changes to the delivery of legal services, the operation of in-house legal departments, and the business models used across all industries, the Center leads the way in aligning NYLS’s educational programs with the needs of the legal job market.
- Launched in 2018, the Business of Law Institute prepares law students and lawyers to meet evolving needs of 21st-century businesses, law firms, and government agencies. The Institute’s offerings include hands-on training opportunities and extracurricular learning labs related to risk and compliance, privacy, cybersecurity, blockchain, artificial intelligence, e-discovery, and similar fields.
Anticipating the legal profession of tomorrow is a central goal outlined in NYLS’s 2020 Strategic Plan: Ever Upward.