Melbourne Law School students will compete in the 2018 Law Apps Awards Night on Thursday 18 October at Herbert Smith Freehills.

Students have been working diligently during the semester in the Law Apps subject in conjunction with seven not-for-profit legal-service organisations to design and build legal expert systems (law apps) that benefit clients and help to address their legal challenges. 

 Law Apps teacher Gary Cazalet said that today’s lawyers need to think deeper and wider than in the past.

“Design thinking is an important skill for graduates as they enter the profession,” Cazalet said.

“In Law Apps, students learn to use human-centred design thinking with technology to provide scalable access to justice.”

The course receives support from law firm Herbert Smith Freehills and technology provider Neota Logic, with the apps being built using Neota Logic’s AI software-development technology.  Herbert Smith Freehills Australian Regional Managing Partner, Andrew Pike, said:

“Herbert Smith Freehills is thrilled to continue our involvement with University of Melbourne. We are committed to improving our culture of innovation and the technological capability of our people. Of course, that commitment extends to preparing the next generation of lawyers for the fast-changing legal industry.”

“Our involvement with the University of Melbourne’s ‘Law Apps’ subject aims to prepare law students for the changes the industry will continue to face.”

“Not-for-profit organisations stand to benefit from the great work these students have been undertaking, and we are all looking forward to seeing what the students will unveil at the awards night.”

Students will unveil their creations at Thursday’s Law Apps Awards evening before a panel of judges, who will evaluate the apps based on a variety of criteria including innovation, user experience and effectiveness. The winning team will receive the Herbert Smith Freehills Prize for Best Law App.

While designing and building their apps over the semester, students have learned how technology in general can be used to solve real-world problems in the legal sector. Second-year law student Joy Kim said she was motivated to take Law Apps as she wanted to be proactive and learn about the technology driving change in the legal industry. 

“I wanted to learn tech skills so that I can help steer the change, rather than be left behind!” said Kim.

The Law Apps Awards night takes place at Herbert Smith Freehills from 6-8pm on Thursday 18 October.   

“We’re proud of our collaboration with University of Melbourne and Herbert Smith Freehills. We look forward to these applications delivering greater access to justice and providing a great community benefit,” said Neota Logic’s Managing Director of Asia Pacific, Julian Uebergang.

This semester’s apps have been created in partnership with the following non-profit legal organisations, which have provided the legal and counselling expertise that’s now captured in the applications: 

·   Disability Justice Advocacy:

·   Fitzroy Legal Service:

·   Moonee Valley Legal Service:

·   Housing for the Aged Action Group:

·   Prisoners Legal Service:

·   Visa Cancellations Working Group

·   Victoria Legal Aid ·