The LawWithoutWalls program groups 100 students from 30 law and business schools around the globe with academic, business, entrepreneur, and legal mentors. Over four months, teams work remotely on identifying and solving some of the most pressing issues in the legal industry ranging from commercial problems to social justice issues.
The teams presented their ideas to a panel of venture capitalists, lawyers, academics, entrepreneurs, and business professionals at an interactive event held over two days at the University of Miami.
This year, Olivia Grivas and Brent Liang represented Sydney Law School as the only two Australians in the internationally renowned program, with their participation in the program supported by Allens.
“We're delighted to have sponsored these two exceptional University of Sydney students to represent Australia at this prestigious international legal start-up competition,” said Anna Collyer, Partner and Head of Innovation at Allens.
“As our legal system evolves in the face of unprecedented technological change, lawyers' skillsets must broaden. We're committed to supporting the next generation of legal talent as they develop increasingly important skills in collaboration, communication and creative thinking, as well as in technological problem solving.”
Olivia and Brent’s journey began in January this year where they met with their teams for the first time at the University of St Gallen, an hour outside of Zurich, Switzerland.
Brent’s group included students from Harvard Law School (United States) and Wits University (South Africa), and mentors from Herbert Smith Freehills, Forsters, Reed Smith LLP and Janders Dean.
His team were awarded Best Presentation of LawWithoutWalls 2018, for their platform integrating juvenile justice workers and legal support networks to help at-risk Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth with bail compliance.
“Inspired by the circle conferencing model at the Youth Koori Court, our platform, KITE, combines digital alerts, a communication system and a case management tool to help youth keep track of court-mandated obligations, while providing information to youth justice professionals, family, and other community members,” said Brent.
“To ensure our project was grounded in the community, we set aside weeks just for readings, interviews, and consultation - so far we have led more than 50 interviews with prominent contacts in the Indigenous sector and the pro bono space, both in Australia and worldwide.
“As of current, we are in talks with 15+ NGO partnerships and a range of law firms in Australia such as Allens Linklaters, Herbert Smith Freehills, Gilbert + Tobin and Pinsent Masons have shown great interest in helping us move forwarl
“Our project is enrolled in the Sydney Genesis challenge, and we working closely with the Harvard Innovation Lab. We are also very lucky to be featured at the JDHorizons conference in July. Recently, we have been involved in a conversation with the Koori Court to test out the basic functionalities of our application, and are looking to raise $200k this year from grant funding, sponsorships and corporate foundations.”
Olivia was grouped with students from University College London and Ecole HEAD (Paris), two industry advisors who were ex-GCs and COOs of Fortune-500 companies, and mentors from the legal industry.
“My project focused on trying to improve the service in-house legal teams were getting from their external counsel,” said Olivia. “We interviewed over 25 top level legal executives from Fortune-500 companies from around the world trying to understand the problem and develop a solution.”
“Our solution, a web-based application called KYLe or (Know My Legal), uses actual relationship psychology applied to professional relationships. It facilitates connection and knowledge sharing by providing information from an in-house team to their external lawyers that will assist in understanding the in-house team’s business and how to communicate best with them.
“We’re still in talks with Allens about the next stages for our project, but LWOW has been both a valuable experience, and a demonstration that the legal industry is making significant moves to innovate despite perceived rigidity.”
LWOW Academic Mentor, Dr Rita Shackel from Sydney Law School, congratulated Olivia and Brent on their participation in LawWithoutWalls: “Sydney Law School is exceptionally proud of Olivia and Brent’s contribution and leadership in their participation in LWOW 2018. We recognise and value their participation, achievements and hard work. They are a testament to the creativity, influence and brilliance of Sydney Law School students.”
Olivia and Brent both expressed their thanks to the many people that have helped them over the last few months: “It’s been fantastic to be supported by Allens, Sydney Law School and the wider Sydney University community, with particular note to our faculty advisor Dr Rita Shackel. As the only university and law school in Australia that sends a team overseas to LWOW, it has been a privilege to get the opportunity to work with some many other great law students and mentors, and really make steps towards the legal profession of the future.”