I was enormously privileged to be invited by Janders Dean to join their group for 2018’s LawWithoutWalls programme.
LawWithoutWalls (LWOW) teams 100 students from 30+ law and business schools around the world with academic, business, entrepreneur, and legal mentors.
Over four months, teams identify a problem related to law, and then work remotely to create a business plan for a solution and a prototype (often a legal startup). In the process, the program refines the skills of those involved, recharges the law market with innovations across business, law and technology, and revitalizes relationships with colleagues, clients, and future talent across the globe. The Janders Dean sponsored team won the 2017 round with Ithaca, their inspiring solution for connecting refugees with lawyers and legal advice. If you would like to watch the winning presentation opening video it is at this link titled “Ithaca’s Opening Video” http://lawwithoutwalls.org/innovations/winners/. I have seen this three times now and it never fails to move me. Be aware, when you do watch this that it was created by three law undergraduates, previously unknown to each other, from three continents, working remotely, in only 12 weeks. If you would like to watch their full presentation to the judges then click on the big box video on that page.
The LWOW 2018 kick off was at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland over the weekend of 13 and 14 January. It was an intensive weekend of learning both for the students and the mentors, topic sponsors and alumini in the room.
Our team for 2018 comprises Justin North who is the topic sponsor, myself, Eric Fiszelson (a partner at HSF Paris) and Alex Smith (the Head of Innovation at Reed Smith) who are acting as mentors. Joe May (now at Janders Dean) and Erika Ly (now at Gilbert & Tobin, Sydney) are our team’s LWOW alumni, both having participated as students last year. The three students whom we will be mentoring this year are Lisa Gluckstein, an undergraduate at Harvard Law School, Brent Lia, an undergraduate at the University of Sydney Law School and Kgabo Senyatsi, an undergraduate at the University of Johannesburg Law School.
Our topic is “Friend or Foe: how can lawyers close the access, information and relationship gap for Australia’s aboriginal juvenile offenders?”. The students have 12 weeks to come up with solution which will be presented to an exacting panel of judges comprising academics, law practitioners and investors at the University of Miami at the end of April. It’s a kind of cross between the X Factor and Dragons Den.
As mentors it is already hard to envisage what we will give to these three brilliant students but we are all really excited. It is going to be hard work. I’m particulally looking forward to SKYPE meetings necessarily at odd hours of the day and night timed to accomodate time zones across the US, Europe, Africa and Australia!
Wish us luck on our journey.