DFW Legal Hackers Bridges Gap Between Technology & Law

Legal Hackers organizer Teresa Martin wanted to awaken investors, builders, creatives, and doers to the opportunities percolating in North Texas. Now, one year after the launch of the DFW chapter, she says that like minds are starting to connect at the intersection of law and technology. 

Legal Hackers

The increase of technology’s presence in our jobs and world has impacted many different industries including the field of law in Dallas-Fort Worth and beyond.

To help open up conversations around the intersection of law and technology, a global organization called Legal Hackers was created in New York six years ago. The organization has more than 100 chapters around the world where lawyers, designers, technologists, and others are able to come together to develop creative solutions.

DFW welcomed a chapter last year connecting like minds around law and technology.

The organization has more than 100 chapters around the world.

“One of their goals is to bring different entities together and I saw that as necessary in the Dallas area,” said Teresa Martin, organizer of the DFW Legal Hackers chapter. “For example, bringing lawyers, coders, developers, investors, and nonprofits who serve communities, who need greater access to justice—all those people and organizations … should come together.”

Including those participants is needed to “effectuate real change,” said Joe Clemko, senior attorney with Beckmen Law P.C. in North Texas.

“They want to include all of the players—the entrepreneurs, researchers, academics, lawyers, students, technologists, and policy makers to push innovation forward … They understand that putting the greater good of advancing an industry above their own agenda benefits everyone,” Clemko said of Legal Hackers.

BRINGING LEGAL HACKERS TO DFW

A few years ago, Martin, a graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law and law marketing strategist, noticed a digital shift in the conversations happening in the local legal community.

The development of artificial intelligence was sparking discussions about the impact of technology on the industry and practice of law. Many law schools and organizations were beginning to bring the concept of computational law, which is the concern of how to delegate legal reasoning to both computers and humans, she said.

“The way I describe it is that the practice of law is an apple, and at the core is that human-thinking, that human element that you really need a lawyer for—and the reason you go to them,” Martin said. “But at the outer edges, more and more little bites are being taken away.”

“It’s time for those people to wake up and realize the riches that we have right here in North Texas.” 
Teresa Martin

All these discussions about computational law and the increase of technology within the global law community opened Martin’s eyes to the lack of conversations happening in North Texas, even though the region has so much to offer.

She established the DFW Legal Hackers chapter in June 2017 to provide a forum for these conversations. 

“We have the brain capital, the monetary capital, and investors here in our backyard—through schools, through business, through various organizations. … Yet quite often, some of our investments leave,” Martin said. “It’s time for those people to wake up and realize the riches that we have right here in North Texas.”

Legal Hackers

[Photo courtesy of DFW Legal Hackers]

PARTNERING WITH NORTH TEXAS BLOCKCHAIN ALLIANCE

For the fall, Martin is planning to provide the local “legal hacking” community opportunities to meet-up through networking events, panel presentations including the impact of blockchain for municipalities, mastermind groups, and hands-on workshops such as a coding bootcamp for lawyers.

“Dallas is about ready to explode, and people need to be prepared for it so they can take advantage of it, or figure out how to work together for the benefit of more people and more businesses here—locally and globally,” Martin said.

“We look forward to building our relationship with Teresa and Legal Hackers to produce great events, hackathons, and workshops.”

Joe Clemko

The chapter also will partner with the North Texas Blockchain Alliance to support each other’s events and move the mission of connecting the DFW innovation community forward. 

Clemko helps lead the legal working group for the Blockchain Alliance, which has experienced tremendous growth within the last year, he said. 

“We’re excited about Legal Hackers coming here to Dallas because they’re coming in wanting to help the ecosystem and open to collaborate with organizations with the similar mission to educate the community. We’ve already had initial discussions with Teresa Martin to figure out how we can help support each other and work together. We look forward to building our relationship with Teresa and Legal Hackers to produce great events, hackathons, and workshops,” he said.

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