The Justice Innovation Challenge is seeking your bold solution to address important access to justice issues. The challenge—which will be run by the Access to Justice Tech Fellows program and sponsored by the Law School Admission Council—invites law student innovators and entrepreneurs from around the nation to participate in developing practical solutions that address communities’ legal needs for a chance to receive seed funding and mentorship.


We’re seeking community centered solutions that utilize digital technology, user-centered design, and/or data informed decision making in addressing the gap in legal services. Submissions can span the spectrum of civil justice issues.

Need inspiration on coming up with an idea. Be sure to check out the Project Ideas page for more examples. Solutions can address justice barriers from a geographic community, a community of common interest or a racial/cultural identity.


Participants can work individually or in teams on self-generated innovation projects, resulting in initiatives that can directly benefit and in collaboration with a sponsoring non-profit legal services organization. Projects should be aimed to help low-income individuals who need legal support and other resource help for legal issues such as domestic violence, consumer debt, evictions, business entity formation, foreclosures and access to government benefits.


  • Any current law student of a participating ABA accredited institution can participate in the Justice Innovation Challenge individually or as part of a team (with a maximum of four members per team).
  • Each team leader must be a current law student. The rest of the team members can be from any walk of life (i.e. belong to the same institute OR another institute, or not be a student at all).


The official Challenge period is between April 15 and July 19, 2019. The final submission requires, and to be deemed complete it must include, each of the following:

  • basic biographical information on the Participant(s),
  • description of the identified real-world access to justice need or problem to be solved,
  • a description of the proposed solution to the identified need or problem, and
  • a basic idea drawing (any type), illustration, or photo of the prototype for the product(s) invented to solve the identified problem or need; or (B) if said product is an “App”, a mockup wire frame of the interface that is inter-active, or a minimal viable product (MVP) of the user interface (in either case, such a submission herein after referred to as “Mock-up”).  The file size of the Mock-up is limited to a maximum size of 15MB. 
  • The sponsoring organization who will benefit from the solution. Submissions will be deemed to be in final mode at the end of the Challenge Term. 

Submission Form Requirements: All Challenge Participants must clearly and concisely complete all nine (9) sections of the Idea-Submission form: 

i. What is the name of your idea? 

ii. Summarize your idea. (128 characters or less) 

iii. Describe your idea and how it addresses the challenge. (1,500 characters or less) 

iv. How would your idea serve a local community? (1,500 characters or less) 

v. Is this solution available right now? (Yes/No)

vi. Who will use the solution? (1,200 characters or less) 

vii. What makes your idea unique? (1,200 characters or less) 

viii. Include links to visual assets, napkin sketches, video, voice-overs, diagrams, examples or anything else that might help illustrate your idea. 

ix. The name of your sponsoring organization

Hackathon Sponsors


$30,000 in prizes

1st Place

The first place team will be awarded a $15,000 prize award.

2nd Place

The second place team will be awarded a $10,000 prize award.

3rd Place

The third place team will be awarded a $5,000 prize award.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Kellye Testy

Kellye Testy
President & CEO, Law School Admission Council

Judy Perry Martinez

Judy Perry Martinez
President Elect, American Bar Association

James Sandman

James Sandman
President, Legal Services Corporation

Kristen Sonday

Kristen Sonday
Co-Founder & COO, Paladin

Chase Hertel

Chase Hertel
Deputy Director & Counsel, ABA Center for Innovation

Maya Markovich

Maya Markovich
Head of Product, Nextlaw Labs

Joshua Lenon

Joshua Lenon
Lawyer in Residence, Clio

Kristina Jones

Kristina Jones
Co-Founder, Court Buddy

Tom Martin

Tom Martin
Founder & CEO LawDroid

Nicole Bradick

Nicole Bradick
Founder/CEO, Theory and Principle

Chas Rampenthal

Chas Rampenthal
General Counsel, Legal Zoom

Elizabeth Grossman

Elizabeth Grossman
Director of Strategic and National Partnerships, Cities Team, Microsoft

Christy Leos

Christy Leos
Director of Operations, Internet Bar Organization

Jake Heller

Jake Heller
Co-founder & CEO, Casetext

Judging Criteria

  • Community Impact
    Is the project likely to make a significant, sustainable difference, now or in the future in the intended community(s) it aims to serve? Will the project inspire or inform others to get involved?
  • Inclusive Innovation
    Meaningfully engaging key stakeholders and community members - thoughtfully identifying those needed to create the intended change and, whenever possible, including those directly affected by the problem.
  • Collaborative
    A true joint effort, with partners willing to share ownership and decision-making as they pursue an innovation together.
  • Implementation
    Is the project plan thoughtful, realistic and does it address the identified community need? Does the applicant have the capacity to execute the work effectively or have a plan to meet the needed capacity?
  • Resourceful
    Utilizes existing resources and assets creatively to make the most of what a community already has.

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