Seven teams have been chosen to participate in the Duke Law Tech Lab, a 10-week accelerator program for legal and civic service start-ups. The businesses, which range from a service for tracking municipal policy proposals to an application that heightens access for pro se litigants in small claims and civil courts, will be connected with law firms, entrepreneurs, and investors who work with early stage technology.
On Oct. 5, the teams will present their proposals during Demo Day at The Bullpen, Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s hub in downtown Durham. A team of judges drawn from the legal and tech communities will award prizes and the audience will also choose a favorite.
“We’re thrilled by the seven teams accepted this year, especially as several of them offer real opportunity to expand access to critical legal services,” said Associate Clinical Professor Jeff Ward JD/LLM ’09, director of the Duke Center on Law & Technology.
The Tech Lab provides guidance for start-ups via one-hour weekly virtual conferences with mentors from various corners of the tech world, tailored to meet the needs of each individual initiative. Thought-leaders from the legal profession and coaching experts help each business hone its pitch and enrich their understanding of the legal services ecosystem.
The Tech Lab was launched in 2017, along with Duke Law’s Center on Law & Technology, and is a part of a robust entrepreneurial culture bolstered by the Duke I & E Initiative and the thriving start-up economy of North Carolina’s Research Triangle.
“The world of legal services is changing rapidly, and we decided that it’s not enough for our law school to watch innovation from afar,” said Ward. “The Duke Law Tech Lab is one way we hope to help drive innovation and give our students and faculty direct access to the next generation of legal services.”
The 2018 Duke Law Tech Lab is sponsored by Travelers Insurance, Latham & Watkins, and Thomson Reuters.
The 2018 Duke Law Tech Lab teams are:
- CivicPro, helps professionals and members of the public track municipal public meetings and legislation by reducing voluminous documentation to a roadmap of key points from public meetings and legislation across cities and counties.
- Hello Divorce offers an alternative to retaining a divorce attorney by providing an on-demand do-it-yourself platform, fixed-fee managed divorce services, and à la carte legal help.
- HUGO Analytics, LLC uses empirical methods and advanced data analytics to allow litigators to evaluate their cases and test strategies across thousands of virtual jurors, with speed and efficiency.
- LegalWin automates legal documents and generates small claims lawsuits and demand letters to help self-represented consumers and small businesses litigate effectively, and is developing a service that uses machine learning to predict outcomes in civil litigation.
- Settledge, Inc. is a dispute resolution platform for smart contract-based transactions and distributed economies that is designed to minimize risks and costs, while maximizing efficiency and customer retention during and after the dispute resolution process.
- Smart Lien allows construction professionals to file construction liens quickly through a mobile-optimized website, and avoid the time and expense of hiring attorneys—often cost-prohibitive for small businesses and low lien amounts—to file liens.
- Upstate is a state policy tracking tool that allows the public, nonprofits, and lobbyists a real-time notification system that allows users to follow keywords, bills and committees.