I have recently become involved with ace organisation The Legal Forecast. On the weekend of the 24th of February, I helped TLF organise the Sydney Round of the Global Legal Hackathon. I also wrote about the event from the perspective of a lawyer and ethnographer, in three separate pieces which were published in Thomson Reuters Insight Blog. I link to them below with some extracts.
‘The purpose of legal hackathons is to get us thinking not only as lawyers, but as people and polymaths. Don’t be afraid to set aside the terminologies and structures designed for your workplace, and anything else that may limit you. Let out all the ideas you would otherwise bracket away in the course of everyday life. Above all, be open to the ideas of others. Practise critical empathy as a way of moving between different perspectives.’
‘The inconsistency in hackathons’ approaches regarding IP calls for more transparency among hackathons so that protections afforded to resulting works, concepts and outcomes produced are made clear. Moreover, it calls for a clarification of “hackathon” discourse so that such events continue to benefit the common resources and collaborative spirit of professional communities and the broader public, rather than being dominated by corporate interests. While balancing the interests of participants and hosts is key to this process, the unique power of the hackathon lies in the bonds and interactions between participants. Many participants voiced that, without the active collaboration of individuals from different professional backgrounds, putting together such a concept over the course of a weekend would have been inconceivable.’
‘In an economy dependent on high levels of specialised expertise, “hacking” culture champions the outsider, the self-taught renegade who exploits systemic rules rather than following them and brings to light the unknowns that are unknown to those inside an industry. But this outlook neglects the unknown knowns – the knowledge that professionals accumulate about their assistants, bosses, partners and clients, as well as the values, tools and discourses underlying their working lives, which are rarely made explicit until they’re challenged. The Sydney Round of the Global Legal Hackathon gave several insights into how individuals leverage their insider or outsider perspective, or move beyond it.’