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Hackathon: A Weekend Well Spent

Hackathon: A Weekend Well Spent

LANC colleagues Kristofer Cook of Ahoskie and Caroline DiMaio of Raleigh discuss the NC Farmworkers App.

The North Carolina Bar Association, in partnership with the American Bar Association’s ABA Journal, presented the state’s first access to justice “Hackathon” on Saturday and Sunday, Oct 24-25, at Campbell Law School.

More than 20 coders, including lawyers and members of the NCBA, combined their legal, entrepreneurial and coding skills to help the legal aid community by creating a technology-enabled solution for challenges faced by North Carolinians who cannot afford a lawyer.

Three prizes were awarded. Caroline DiMaio of Legal Aid of North Carolina and former attorney Edward Ingram claimed first prize ($1,500) for their NC Farmworkers app. DiMaio is based in Raleigh with the LANC Farmworker Unit.

Cody Meshberger and Christopher Price claimed second place ($1,000) for the Legal Aid Second-Chance Project app. They are recent graduates of Purdue University who now reside in Charlotte.

Michael Silverman claimed third place ($500) for his Legal Aid Eligibility Test app.

Many of the contestants worked through the night as Saturday transitioned into Sunday and the 4 p.m. deadline approached. Noted contestant Matthew Wilcut of LANC in Durham, “I would hate to practice law on this little sleep and this much caffeine.”

Their efforts were well worth it, regardless of whether they submitted a prize-winning entry. The spirit of collaboration was evident throughout the two-day event and will not end just because the hackathon is over.

Featured speakers were Jeff Ward, director of Duke Law School’s Start-Up Ventures Clinic, who presented the keynote address on Saturday; Associate Justice Barbara Jackson of the N.C. Supreme Court who provided remarks at the awards ceremony; and Keith Lindsay of Citrix who presented a class on the basics of coding Sunday afternoon.

Justice Jackson also served as a judge, joined in that regard by Thomas M. Brooke of Brooke & Brooke Attorneys in China Grove, Bill O’Boyle of Citrix in Raleigh, and Professor Kevin P. Lee of Campbell Law School.

Lawyers Mutual and Citrix ShareFile were Gold Sponsors for the event while Poyner Spruill was a Silver Sponsor.

Special thanks is also extended to Campbell Law School for the use of its excellent facilities and for the assistance of staff members who provided support throughout the weekend event.