Solving Pressing Legal Industry Problems With Innovation

Each LWOW team is assigned a pressing problem in the legal industry.  Topic challenges are wide ranging including: 

  • Business issues e.g., In a Big Data World, How Should Service Providers Strike a Balance Between Making Money and Responsibly Managing Users’ Data? (Microsoft)

  • Compliance/Ethics e.g., Catch 22?: Assessing the Ethics programs of M&A Targets, Partners and Suppliers Without Reference to a Specific Country’s Laws or Regulations (Lockheed Martin)

  • Practice e.g., Does Practice Make Perfect? How Do We Find an Objective Measure of Legal Quality? (LegalZoom)

  • Social justice e.g., How Can Lawyers Use Technology to Help Millions Around the World Live Longer, Healthier, Happier Lives? (Bupa)

Teams are tasked with exploring the topic challenge, fine-tuning the problem for a discrete audience, and, finally, developing a solution to the problem identified.  Each team co-creates a real-time solution to their topic/challenge—a Project of Worth—and develops an interactive presentation that includes business financials, timeline, prototype, animated explanatory video, and an elevator speech.  The solution can take many forms, such as an app, a new model regulation, a website, or new software, a new consultancy, a new way to streamline a contracting or decision making process, etc. 

Sponsor a Topic Challenge: Your Problem, Solved

As in years past, corporations or law firms can sponsor a topic challenge. Sponsoring a challenge represents a unique opportunity for an organization, corporation, or firm to have a real or anticipated issue researched, analyzed, and creatively solved by a team of the world’s top law and business students, entrepreneurs, academics, and lawyers. The issue could be one that the sponsor’s business or industry is facing, or it could be one that is in line with the sponsor’s corporate social responsibility endeavors or pro bono commitment. The sponsor has wide discretion in selecting a topic.

Join organizations like Accenture, BupaClyde & Co, Cozen O’Connor, Eversheds Sutherland, Janders DeanLATAMLegalZoom, Linklaters, Lockheed Martin, MicrosoftPinsent Masons, Spotify, White & Case, and more in sponsoring a topic. | Learn more 

2019 Topic Challenges

LWOW Original

  • Team A: Waste Not, Want Change: How can advances in technology further a reduction in food waste? (Sponsored by Accenture)

  • Team B: Organizing Chaos: How can distributed ledger technology facilitate advances in identification management in the foster care system? (Sponsored by Accenture)

  • Team C: Back to the Future: How can law firms best use past case outcome data for future initiatives? (Sponsored by Cozen O’Connor)

  • Team D: Justify Me: How can in-house really know that legal tech enhances their value while keeping business and the bank account in mind? (Sponsored by Eversheds Sutherland + Link Assets Services)

  • Team E: Rise of the Machines: How can the increasing use of drones be effectively regulated and how might technology be used to enforce regulation? (Sponsored by Elevate Services)

  • Team F: Tough Gig: How can technology be used to give gig workers a deeper understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities? (Sponsored by Legal Mosaic)

  • Team G: Redesigning the Playing Field: How might we create a hiring process for law firm candidates that takes into account a more meaningful slate of indicators of capability and fit, and does not rely inequitably on a candidate's academic pedigree and/or professional or social network? (Sponsored by White & Case)

  • Team H: Chains of Change: How can distributed ledger technology impact the way in which banks deal with their clients and how can it be used to improve the legal interactions between them? (Sponsored by HSBC)

  • Team I: Are You Feeling Me: How can law firms, in house departments and technology providers collaborate for better business outcomes? (Sponsored by iManage)

  • Team J: Far is a Figure of Speech: How can we provide broader, more efficient access to legal services in rural communities? (Sponsored by LegalZoom)

  • Team K: Fasten Your Seatbelt: How can airlines protect consumer data from cyberattacks and other data security breaches? (Sponsored by LATAM)

  • Team L: Anti-tech Tool: How might in-house legal teams shift current processes to bypass the need to purchase a contract management system? (Sponsored by Leah Cooper Consulting)

  • Team M: Tech for Good: How might advancements in tech and AI be used to empower immigrant families in the United States? (Sponsored by Microsoft)

  • Team N: Navigating Uncharted Waters: What role can payment providers (like Visa) play in collaborating with new entrants (like fintech startups) to navigate regulations and drive industry transformation? (Sponsored by Pinsent Masons)

  • Team O: Making Your Voice Count: What role might Spotify play in broadening access to podcast creation and dissemination? (Sponsored by Spotify)

  • Team P: AI Transparency and Accountability: How can AI-based decisions for commercial purposes (e.g., recruiting or targeted advertising) be more transparent and less biased? (Sponsored by Pinsent Masons)

LWOW X

  1. Save our Students, Protect our Schools: How can we best prevent gun violence in secondary schools?

  2. Going Green: How can distributed ledger technology be used to protect the environment?

  3. Helping Those Who Don’t Know They Need It: How can ProBonoNet reach audiences who are in need of our services and don’t recognize their needs fall under the umbrella of what ProBonoNet does?

  4. Fake News and the Search for Truth: In the age of information accessibility, how can we prevent the spread of false facts so that justice is served?

  5. Tough Gig: How can technology be used to give gig workers a deeper understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities?

  6. Benevolence and Benefits: How can SMEs help their employees access the legal services they need in a way that avoids on- and off-the-clock waste and disruption?

  7. Helping Heroes: How can technology increase veterans’ legal literacy?

  8. Getting to Know You: How can we prevent cognitive bias from negatively impacting the law school admissions process?

Past Topic Challenges

Click here for a historical list of topic challenges. Topic challenges, by year, are detailed below.

2018

LWOW Original

  • A. Complying in the Sky: How might we use technology to manage regulatory compliance across the many territories in which we fly? (Sponsored by LATAM)

  • B. Whose Robot is it Anyway? What role can lawyers play in helping the public understand the entitlements of robots and their owners? (Sponsored by Legal Mosaic)

  • C. Cultivating Resilience: how might blockchain and decentralised networks be utilised to help close the insurance protection gap in emerging economies? (Sponsored by Clyde & Co)

  • D. Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised: How can we improve lawyers' project management skills from planning to execution to outcomes? (Sponsored by Pinsent Masons)

  • E. Size Shouldn’t Matter: How can an in-house legal team be relevant to law firms and vendors regardless of spend? (Sponsored by Leah Cooper Consulting)

  • F. Calm After the Storm: How can we best facilitate legal aid after a natural disaster?

  • G. Make Good with What You’ve Got: How can existing resources be leveraged to provide quality legal information and services to refugees returning home after conflict? (Sponsored by LegalZoom)

  • H. Knowledge Management or Mismanagement: How can knowledge management be utilized to help legal functions? (Sponsored by HSBC)

  • I. Smooth Operator: How can we use technology to enhance our cultural competency and gain a competitive edge when operating across international markets? (Sponsored by Interlaw)

  • J. Friend or Foe: How can lawyers close the access, information, and relationship gap for Australia’s aboriginal juvenile offenders? (Sponsored by Janders Dean)

  • K. Decoding Diversity: How can blockchain be used to incentivize and enhance transparency of diversity within law firms in a way that comports with global privacy laws? (Sponsored by Holland & Knight)

  • L. No Dodo: Given the increasing use of technology and a tighter focus on costs, how should we develop the skills, judgment, and creativity of the next generation of lawyers? (Sponsored by Linklaters)

  • M. Redemption Song: How can technology help former prisoners forge a path from freedom to independence? (Sponsored by Microsoft)

  • N. Contractual Gold: How can AI be used to mine and leverage contract data to facilitate proactive compliance, legal risk monitoring, and to observe market trends in real time? (Sponsored by Pinsent Masons)

  • O. Steward of the Arts: What role can Spotify play in assisting unknown and emerging artists with the knowledge, tools, and legal services necessary for global success? (Sponsored by Spotify)

LWOW X

  • Justice for One, Justice for All: How can we support self-represented litigants when they go it alone?

  • Guarding the Greatest Generation: How can technology protect aging populations from cybercrime?

  • Redemption Song: How can technology help former prisoners forge a path from freedom to independence?

  • Calm After the Storm: How can we best facilitate legal aid after a natural disaster?

2017

LWOW Original

  1. The Role of In-house Counsel is Evolving Fast: How Can Lawyers in Law Firms use Technology to Keep Up? (Sponsored by Eversheds)

  2. Mentor? Sponsor? Advisor? What role should law school faculty play in student development?

  3. Blind Vision: How can law firms use technology to reduce bias in the lateral recruitment process? (Sponsored by DiversityLab)

  4. Changing Climates, Shifting Needs: How can Alt. Legal leaders take a bigger role in access to justice? (Sponsored by Avvo)

  5. Friend Rather Than Foe: How Can the Law Enable a Better Life for Migrants Held in Detention? (Sponsored by Janders Dean)

  6. Weakest Link or Front Line Fighter: How can law firms lead cybersecurity services for clients?

  7. Strategize This: How can external counsel help in-house counsel manage legal as a business?

  8. Growing Pains: How does a legal department stay functional, flexible, and sustainable from startup to Fortune 500? (Sponsored by Spotify)

  9. Cogito Ergo Sum: How Can Cognitive Technologies Transform the Way Financial Institutions Deal With the Impact of Regulatory Change on their Lending Documentation? (Sponsored by Pinsent Masons)

  10. Client Confidentiality in the Digital Era: How can law firms strengthen their cybersecurity measures?

  11. Legal Department 2020: How can in-house legal departments use AI to realize greater efficiencies? (Sponsored by Microsoft)

  12. Lawyering beyond borders: How can global legal practices streamline multi jurisdictional working by leveraging virtual tech? (Sponsored by Interlaw)

  13. Legal Efficacy, Consumer Demand, and Market Approach: How Can Contract Visualizations Turn From Concept Into Reality? (Sponsored by LegalZoom)

  14. Defying Death by Disclaimer: How Can In-house Lawyers efficiently manage the Legal Risks of Consumer Marketing in a Digital, Customer Centric World? (Sponsored by BUPA)

  15. Culture of Mergers, Merger of Cultures: How to Get the Right Mix when Law Firms Combine

  16. Carrots and Sticks: What should be done when signatory countries and courts fail to uphold international obligations? (Sponsored by LATAM)

LWOW X

  1. Homeless Not Helpless: How Can we Create Legal Shelter for Those Without a Home?

  2. Underage and Underrepresented: How Can We Protect Youth From Cyberbullying?

  3. You’ve Arrived, Now What? How Can Lawyers Ease the Settlement Process for New Asylum Seekers?

  4. Is it Really a Deal? Assessing the Ethics of Plea Bargaining

  5. Friend Rather Than Foe: How can the law enable a better life for migrants held in detention? (Sponsored by Janders Dean)

2016

LWOW Original

  1. Teach an Old Dog New Tricks: How can Technology Help Aging Populations Know Their Rights?

  2. Microsoft’s HoloLens, Google Glasses, and Infinity AR: How Should Augmented Reality Change the Legal Marketplace?

  3. How Can Law Keep the Sporting Industry Fair? You Be the Referee

  4. Even Tradition Can Be Enhanced With Technology: How Can IT Improve Important Trial Processes?

  5. Fight or Flight: Where Can/Should Lawyers Go after Biglaw?

  6. Growing Pains: How Can Law Firm Leaders Manage and Leverage Today’s Multi-Generational Firm for the Future?

  7. More Minorities at the Top: What Will It Take To Increase and Sustain Diversity in High-Level Legal Leadership Positions in Law? (Sponsored by Diversity Lab)

  8. If Airlines Can Do It, Why Can’t Law Firms? How Can Law Firms Profitably Disaggregate Services Without Being Despised?

  9. Catch 22?: Assessing the Ethics programs of M&A Targets, Partners and Suppliers Without Reference to a Specific Country’s Laws or Regulations (Sponsored by Lockheed Martin)

  10. In a Big Data World, How Should Service Providers Strike a Balance Between Making Money and Responsibly Managing Users’ Data? (Sponsored by Microsoft)

  11. Does Practice Make Perfect? How Do We Find an Objective Measure of Legal Quality? (Sponsored by LegalZoom)

  12. In the Modern New Legal Education Landscape, How Can We Measure Success?

  13. Cooking Up a Secret Sauce: The Law School Application and Admissions Process, Reimagined

  14. How Can Lawyers Use Technology to Help Millions Around the World Live Longer, Healthier, Happier Lives? (Sponsored by Bupa)

  15. Forget Me Not? Helping Today’s Youth Gain Protection From a Right to be Forgotten Tomorrow

  16. What's the Recipe: How Can General Counsel Offices Measure Success Internally and Across the Organization? (Sponsored by UnitedLex)

  17. Connecting Lawyers to Social Entrepreneurship: The Ultimate Two-For? Lawyers Give and Get

  18. The Right to Rat: Protecting Whistleblowers from a Bad Rap

Click here to see team members by topic.

LWOW X Social Entrepreneurship

  1. Even Tradition Can Be Enhanced With Technology: How Can IT Improve Important Protected Trial Processes?

  2. The Challenge of Apathy: How Can the International Mission to Prosecute Crimes Against Humanity Appeal to Today’s Youth?

  3. She, He, We, and Who: Rethinking Access to Justice in a Non-Binary World

  4. A New Kind Of Risk Management for Lawyers: Substance Abuse Prevention and Education for the Modern Legal Profession

  5. Forces of Change: How can Technology Aid Information Management in the European Refugee Crisis?

  6. Rethinking Nonprofits: New Models for Legal Aid for Vulnerable Client Populations

  7. Lawyers as Leaders: How Can Lawyers be Empowered to Create Social Change?

  8. Connecting Lawyers to Social Entrepreneurship: The Ultimate Two-For? Lawyers Give and Get

  9. From Lass to Lawyer: How Can We Empower the Girls of Today To Be Tomorrow’s Female Law Leaders?

  10. Getting Schooled: In Troubled Areas, How Can Law Help Enforce Women’s Right to Education?

  11. The Right to Rat: Protecting Whistleblowers from a Bad Rap

Click here to see team members by topic.

YEAR 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | Potential future topics