Updated 26/2. I was one of the judges in Stockholm. Listening to the pitches Sunday night it struck me how well fleshed out the concepts were, astoundingly so considering the fact that the teams - as I understand it - were formed Friday afternoon.
A lot of effort obviously went into these projects. Deciding who gets a chance to compete in the finals in New York is no small matter. One needs to take many things into account when assessing - uniqueness and competition, the business model, the problem the project aims to solve, the composition of the team and so on. Lack of time coupled with some uncertainty regarding what weight different criteria should be given caused some unfortunate confusion (sorry, teams), but we now have an unanimous final verdict.
Another team wanted to make it easier to decide whether to hire a data protection officer or not. The method could probably be used in other situations where buying legal services might be called for, and tools for assistance in the buying process is an underdeveloped area of legal tech in Sweden. This team also relied heavily on gamification to avoid labor costs. Users would have to be convinced to opt for this solution rather than using checklists and flowcharts, such as the ones from IAPP or consultancies, or turning to traditional advisors. The model could perhaps be employed to guide users of digital marketplaces for legal services. Again, this is pretty much uncharted territory in Sweden. In the US, not so much.
The winning team basically wanted to create a ROSS but for consumers and with different tech behind it, if I got the pitch right. Definitely the most advanced and ambitious project, and arguably the most daunting. Lots of now rather big companies are providing products for analyzing legal information or contracts with machine learning and natural language processing, but they're usually aimed with a professional in mind who in turn makes decisions and communicates with clients. Chatbots and other tools aimed squarely at non-lawyers are on the rise though.
It was difficult for us to assess the technological differences between this concept and the products that exist today, and the challenges surrounding making such a tool available for use by laypeople. This team had a good mix of people with different, vital skillsets. Though there may be significant hurdles to overcome, we'd like to see how this project will develop given the chance. So, congratulations team LawLess and good luck in the next round.
Investors and others interested in getting in contact with the teams, feel free to contact me or the organizers. All in all, it was a fun experience. I do however think that the event would benefit from clearer judging criteria and more time to ask questions and to analyze the ideas. Regardless of the outcome, there's value in the attention this is getting and the contacts being made.
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