Building a Global Community

Though the title of the panel, ‘Expanding and Connecting Legal Hackers Chapters in Your Region’, was focused upon how to connect and develop Chapters across the globe, the conversation quickly turned the role that each Chapter plays in fostering a community which goes far beyond legal technology. It was heartwarmingly clear how close the Legal Hackers community is and how each Chapter is so much more than just a committee or a focus group.

On this panel were representatives from:

  • Ahmedabad, India;
  • Bogotá, Colombia;
  • São Paulo, Brazil;
  • Rome, Italy;
  • Mexico City, Mexico.

What is a Legal Hackers Chapter?

The representative from São Paulo spoke on the role of friendship and respect in running a Legal Hackers Chapter. Legal Hackers is about more than coding and readying legislation. At its most basic, the Legal Hackers is a community of individuals learning from one another, but that community can grow to be anything which those individuals make of it.

For some, the local Chapter is a place to sound out ideas when they don’t have the space or confidence to do so in the office, for others it can be a place to meet the people with the skills you need, or it can just be a place to get to know the local legal and tech communities. Whatever a Legal Hackers Chapter is to you, it should above all be friendly.

The representative from Ahmedabad explained how formal networking functions in the legal market can often be unnecessarily intimidating and stifling, but in the Legal Hackers they found a more informal atmosphere where all are welcome and ideas are heard, whatever your level or field of expertise.

Legal Hackers done right is a place where there are no prerequisites of job titles or experience, only an interest and curiosity.

The grassroots

Experiences of legal technology differ from place to place. For lawyers in some jurisdictions, such as the UK, legal tech is a buzz phrase which is likely to feature in nearly every industry publication, but this isn’t universally the norm.

Our experience of setting up a Chapter in Manchester has been a race to keep up with demand! There is no shortage of exciting speakers and a huge audience waiting to hear them speak. However, it was interesting to hear the experiences of those that managed to establish Chapters in jurisdictions without the same level of pre-existing noise and excitement regarding legal technology.

In Colombia for instance, the representative from Bogotá explained how the Legal Hackers began as a national movement. What are now multiple Chapters across the country began as only a handful of people across different cities coordinating through online platforms. This group managed to tap into, an as yet untapped, well of interest within the legal industry. As more people became involved this national Chapter because a number of different city Chapters across the country – however, we were reassured that the same feeling of national community still holds strong!

As the representative from Mexico City summarised, the magic of the Legal Hackers is that it works best when you do it for yourself, because when you indulge your passion, that passion draws in the passion of others.

***

Our next event is on 30th July and will be a guest presentation from Louise Anderson, Head of the Northern Hub for F-LEX, entitled COVID-19 and The Future of Work. Sign up to attend this virtual event below:

If you have any questions about the Legal Hackers or would like to get involved, please feel free to contact us at LegalHackersMCR@gmail.com and we will try to answer your questions, give you details of our upcoming events or put you in touch with your local Legal Hackers chapter!

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