In the span of just two short months, Startup Weekend will have gone from zero to two events in the legal vertical. First, from August 15-17, the first-ever legal technology Startup Weekend vertical event was held at the AirBnB headquarters in San Francisco. This was a smashing success and demonstrated that there is an abundance of passion and significant interest in working to innovate in and disrupt one of the oldest professions.
In a few short weeks, the weekend of October 10th, the second-ever (and first for Seattle) Startup Weekend – Legal event will be held.
What’s more, there are groups in the Los Angeles area and Raleigh, NC exploring the possibility of hosting similar events in those locales in the coming months.
Those of us who watch this space closely believe that these events are more than a few activities happening coincidentally. First, off they demonstrate that the mainstream legal industry aware of and attentive to the need for greater technological understanding and adoption among its ranks.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, the legal Startup Weekend events do two things for those outside of the legal industry. They provide: (1) exposure to the unique opportunities at the intersection of law, technology and innovation, and (2) an opportunity for those individuals to actively participate in building solutions to improve and broaden access to legal services and legal information.
Ultimately, a few events may not constitute a watershed. Many people cannot afford a lawyer and go without legal services. In many other circumstances, lawyers provide in efficient services that could be delivered much more effectively. Finally, there’s still a great deal that technology can do to make legal information more understandable and access to legal services more broadly available. Still these Legal Technology Startup Weekend events emerging around the same time, almost completely independently of one another, constitute a burst of creative energy and excitement in an industry that has, to date, been largely a backwater for technological innovation.
Hopefully, they’re only the first of many.
Event: Legal Startup Weekend, Seattle
Date(s): October 10-12, 2014
Location: WeWork, Seattle, WA
Resources: http://www.up.co/communities/usa/seattle/startup-weekend/4218 @seattlelegalsw
PAST EVENT: Legal Startup Weekend, San Francisco
Date(s): August 15-17, 2014
Location: AirBnB Headquarters, San Francisco, CA
Resources: http://legalsf.startupweekend.org/ @LegalTech_SW
Event Storify: https://storify.com/richards1000/legaltech-startup-weekend-san-francisco-2014