Tips & Tricks | A Must Read!

Tips & Tricks | A Must Read!

Global Legal Hackathon Tips for Participants and Teams

Before the event:

Study Margaret Hagen’s terrific resources for design thinking in the legal industry:

  •       Review the judging rubric for the Global Legal Hackathon > Rubric <
  •       Make a list of legal industry problems that are on your mind.
  •       Set a goal to have a fantastic weekend, no matter what. This is a voluntary event, run by volunteer organizers. It’s up to the participants and teams to make it great.
  •       Always remember that this is a unique opportunity to challenge yourself and learn, in a no-consequences environment. Push yourself to try new things and learn new things. Don’t just create a great project. Extend and enhance your own experiences and abilities.

Day of the event – opening reception:

  •       Bring lots of business cards.
  •       Meet as many people as possible at the opening reception.
  •       Know what you’re looking for. Do you have an idea that you want to pursue? Are you looking for potential team members? Do you need software developers? Designers? Or are you looking for a great idea and a team to join?
  •       Get creative. If you discover that your idea is similar to another idea, consider joining forces.

Once your team has formed:

  •       Appoint a single team leader/project manager
  •       Name your team or project
  •       Collect the names, emails, and phone numbers of everyone on your team and circulate them to all team members at the beginning.
  •       Create a shared folder for all team materials (i.e. Google Drive)
  •       Clearly define the problem you are trying to solve. Simple is better. You only have the weekend to create your solution. [note that this can evolve during the course of the weekend – it is typical for this to evolve as you get feedback from users and prospective clients]
  •       Review the judging rubric for the Global Legal Hackathon again.
  •       Set your goals for the weekend. Be specific. What will you present to the judges on the last day? [examples: working prototype, simulated prototype, wireframe mockups, presentation, etc.] Time management is critical, and you need to plan your end result before allocating tasks to achieve that end result. Note that teams rarely have all of the competencies necessary for a “perfect” project. That’s okay. Make the most of what you have and who you have. Embrace the constraints that you face – they force creativity…and innovation!
  •       Plan to get feedback from users and stakeholders. More is better. Get it by email. Get it by personal interviews on the street. Get it by phone. Get it by video (and record the video). Get it via social media. Don’t be shy! One of the most important components of the GLH competition is validating your idea (and proving the validation).
  •       Don’t focus too much time on the business model or financial projections, beyond the very basics. It’s more important to create something, build something, confirm “product market fit” – and then present it in a compelling way.
  •       If you notice that your team is getting bogged down with some aspect of the project, that may be valuable feedback that you need to simplify or adjust the project.
  •       You only have five minutes to present your project during judging, and there will be a hard stop at five minutes, even if you’re not finished. Five minutes for your final presentation isn’t very much time. Practice your presentation while timing it, and try to fit it into four or four and a half minutes. Our experience is that most presenters end up taking more time than they expect during the live presentations to the judges (especially people in the legal industry!)

What to Expect From Start to Finish

What to Expect From Start to Finish

Day One

  1. Show up: You show up either as an individual or as part of a pre-formed team.
  2. Sign-up and Registration: Your host location will have a sign-in and registration area. You will be asked to ensure you’ve signed the terms and conditions. If you haven’t you will not be considered a participant of the Global Legal Hackathon.
  3. Start: Your host will likely have an emcee or someone to start things off. They may have speakers present, local entertainment or they may choose to dive right in and get started!
  4. Mix and Mingle: After the start you will be directed into a mix and mingle session where you will have the opportunity to meet and match up with team mates, or if you are part of a pre-formed team, you will have the opportunity to find additional team members. Some host locations may permit a 60 second pitching period where you will have the opportunity to quickly pitch your idea to the room, so that others can learn about what you want to work on and may wish to talk to you about working together in a team.
  5. Team Registration: you will then register your team with the host organizers, and they will then direct you to the space they have set out for your team to work on your solutions.
  6. Start Planning: Once teams have all been formed and have found a spot at the venue, you can start planning! Start with a project map to scope out how you want to work on things throughout the weekend. Check out the Tech Toolkit and Other Resources too before you get started to see if there’s any tools you might like to use, or ideas to help you get started.
  7. End of Day One: event location is closed over night.

Day Two

  1. Show up: return to the venue at your hosts start time for the day.
  2. Start: your hosts might have something planned for the kick-off to day two.
  3. Begin Hacking!: Dive right in, and if you didn’t do a project map don’t forget to start with a project map to scope out how you want to work on things throughout the weekend. Check out the Tech Toolkit and Other Resources too before you get started to see if there’s any tools you might like to use, or ideas to help you get started. All you need is your computer and your team mates!
  4. Continue Hacking!: the second day is all about working on your solutions. Your hosts have a scheduled lunch or other  break periods scheduled, but in general this is the day to get cracking and work hard.
  5. End of Day Two: event location is closed over night.
  6. Keep on hacking through the night? Even if the location is closed over night, you can continue to keep hacking, you’ll have to organize yourself with your team, and can continue to use Slack for communications if you wish!

Day Three

  1. Show up: return to the venue at your hosts start time for the day.
  2. Start: your hosts might have something planned for the kick-off to day three.
  3. Continue Hacking!: you will have time on the final day to continue working on your solutions. Make sure you know when you need to submit your presentations by, as it might be different at your host location. This is your day to tie up the loose ends:
    • complete your presentation set
    • organize your team around pitching. Who’s going to present? Are you going to take turns?
    • Do you have a demo to present? If so, figure out how you’re going to best show case it.
    • Are you only half way done your project? Don’t sweat it! Make sure your presentation covers all aspects, and present your demo or prototype as a “look to the future”, ie. here’s what we plan to do with it, and how we plan to build it out, and here’s what we have now.
  4. Pitching to the judging panel! : all hacking stops, this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for!! Your hosts will have a space set up for teams to present in front of a judging panel. This is a full group activity, where everyone can be part of the audience, and teams will be called up one by one to present to judges. Please be aware that the speach and presentations have to be done in English.
  5. Pitching ends: once all teams have finished pitching, your judges will step away to talley up the results. Your organizers might have something planned during this time, hang tight because the next part is where the real fun happens.
  6. Winning teams announcements: hosts will announce the winning teams for your city location. The first place winner will be selected to go on to the esteemed second round of the Global Legal Hackathon, and the top three winning teams from your location will be submitted to the Global Organizer Committee. Only the first place team goes on to the global round, but the top three are submitted in case the first place team can’t accept the second round invitation for whatever reason.

The Second Round

March 11, 2018: Additional detail on the way!

The Final Round

April 21, 2018 in New York, New York!

Tech Partners



Tech Partner // ServeManager

ServeManager is a tool that enables process serving firms to manage their businesses and collaborate with their clients – law firms, collection firms, access to justice organization and government entities. 

Tech Partner // vLex

vLex, in partnership with Compass / vLex Canada, is making available 100 instances of its cloud-based Artificial Intelligence platform designed to address the unique challenges of creating custom legal knowledge & analytics solutions. This enterprise offering will be scaled to hackathon levels and participating teams of the Global Legal Hackathon get access to:

  • A private installation of Iceberg with the [Data Modeling], [Workspaces] and [Imports modules].
  • Space to add up to 10,000 of your own documents 
  • Flexibility to create multiple sandbox workspaces 
  • A ready to use connection to IBM’s Watson Natural Language Understanding model for enhanced machine learning services (requires free sign-up to Watson)

For teams that want to continue to refine their idea beyond the hackathon, we will work with teams to arrange 6-month no-charge access and support.


Joining & Using Slack

 Once you’ve joined the community, find and join your local hackathon channel ( e.g.: #glh-BUCHAREST) then say hi to everyone there and in the community wide #global-general channel.

Not sure how to find and join channels or new to Slack altogether? Learn more.

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Free resources for attendees to develop their ideas

Free resources for attendees to develop their ideas.

Project Management and Team Collaboration

A list of awesome open-source tools for hackathon coordinators and attendees.

 Github Student Pack

If you’re a student, you should already have this free resource pack from GitHub.


A reverse tunnel. Run a server locally in any language and give it a public domain. Good for testing and demoing.

 Fenix Web Server

A simple local webserver. Work on multiple sites simultaneously and serve any number of HTTP projects side by side with a simple GUI.

 Caffeine (mac)

Make sure your display doesn’t turn off or go to sleep during your presentation (we’ve seen this happen).


Save your eyes from blue light eye strain. F.lux makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.


Create and configure lightweight, reproducible, and portable development environments. Don’t mess up your dev box by installing all kinds of stuff that might conflict with your existing dev setup. Instead use dev environments using Vagrant or even  Docker.


An open source and customizable programming IDE for just about anything.

 Sublime Text

A sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose.

 Homebrew (mac)

Homebrew is the missing package manager for OSX, it installs the stuff you need that Apple didn’t.


Like livereload but better, time synced browser testing. Useful when sharing a design to teammates and on multiple devices. Usually used with  gulp or grunt watch tasks.

Origami (mac)

Origami is a free tool for designing modern user interfaces and interactions. Created by Facebook.

Google Drive

We use Google Drive as a communication and organizational tool to keep the team on the same page. Don’t bother emailing or dropboxing. We recommend to use 1 thing that does it all, from projection ideation(docs) to file uploading.


Pitcherific helps with preparing and rehearsing your pitches, so you don’t have to be all shaky on stage.

Alexa Skills Kit

Voice enable any app or service with Amazon Alexa

Studio 3T

A GUI that will make navigating MongoDB much quicker and easier.


Design & Inspiration:

Can’t figure out how to lay out your navigation or show thumbnails? Pattern Tap has a collection of awesome examples for almost every control and web design pattern.


Same as Pattern Tap but for mobile design patterns. (iOS and Android)

UX Archive

One of the best Mobile UX websites. Can’t figure out a certain User Flow for your mobile hack? UX Archive lists just about every flow or user task from the best apps out.

Stock Photos That Don’t Suck

Finding great stock photos is a pain. You’re left with either low-res amateur photos, people wearing cheesy headsets, or photos that are out of budget for the project you’re working on. This is an ongoing list of the best stock photo sites that  @dustin put together.

100 Days of Fonts

A great place to find beautiful combinations and usages of Google Fonts and color schemes.

User Inter Faces

A database of profile pictures for mockups and demoes (many can be used on live websites as well)!

Graphic Burger

An array of design resources such as: Mock-ups, UI Kits, Icons, Backgrounds, etc.


Thousands of amazing icons useful for your hacks.

 Icon Monstr

Great icon sets for just about anything.

 Icon Moon

High-quality and varied icon fonts and icon packs.



An HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code editor in your browser with instant previews and tons of snippets and inspiration.

Cody House

A free library of very useful HTML, CSS, and JS nuggets with comprehensive tutorials.


A CSS3 Animation hover effects library. A quick and useful way to add a layer of polish to your interactions.

Start Bootstrap

Free Bootstrap starter templates for different types of sites. A good place to start and build upon.

Boot Snipp

Free Bootstrap code snippets for design elements. Similar to Pattern Tap but with provided code.