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Curtin students compete in high-tech legal bot battle

News story

Curtin business and law students have embraced the changing legal technology landscape in a competition to develop a legal “bot”.

A Zoom call

The competition was part of the Faculty of Business and Law’s Curtin Link program and was supported by legal technology startup Josef and judged by the CEO of IP firm, Wrays.

Over a four-week pop-up course, students formed teams to develop a fully functional “bot” – an app to automate a complex legal process – using Josef’s no-code platform.

The competition

Students were briefed to collaboratively develop a bot to automate an issue arising out of the current pandemic, assisting a not-for-profit organisation or social enterprise.

The winner, RentBot, was developed to determine user eligibility for the Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme and to create a letter and repayment agreement to send to their landlord.

The RentBot team had a well-executed idea and fulfilled all aspects of the UX design brief with a clear aptitude for the intricacies offered by Josef.

Law and commerce student Alexander Carr presented the winning bot.

Alexander Carr in a Zoom call

“The course was a very valuable opportunity to learn about developments in legal technology that will affect the role of legal professionals in the future,” says Alex.

“Using Josef was eye-opening in terms of how technology can be used to solve legal problems. In particular, the course demonstrated that automation can provide legal professionals with tools to administer justice and make equitable outcomes more accessible for people without a background in law”, he says.

The other bots addressed a wide range of issues in relation to the pandemic such as family support, commercial tenancies rent relief, small business employee redundancy and residential building grants.

The Your Family Support Bot received an honourable mention for its interesting and situation-relevant angle, being valuable for not-for-profit organisations.

Seizing the opportunity to learn

Law and commerce student Regina Nunag participated in the four-week intensive course to get out of her comfort zone and upskill in the competitive legal environment.

“I believe law clinics, law schools and law firms should take advantage of the advanced technology we have available right now”, Regina explains.

“In the current circumstances where classes, work and information are all held virtually, we need to keep upskilling ourselves in order to move forward.”

Regina has used her experience in the course as a springboard in seeking a graduate position.

Industry partnership

Robert Pierce, Tom Dreyfus and Professor Robert Cunningham

From top: The panel of judges included Robert Pierce, Tom Dreyfus and Professor Robert Cunningham (bottom)

Robert Pierce, the CEO of Wrays, an Intellectual Property Specialist firm known for its community spirit, was one of three judges.

“The standard was very impressive,” Pierce reflects. “The future for legal tech is bright.”

Tom Dreyfus, the CEO and co-founder of Josef said “It’s fantastic to see Curtin students create practical solutions that can address impacts of the pandemic.”

“Josef’s story also started with young lawyers wanting to use their legal knowledge and technology to solve real world problems, so it’s inspiring to see the next generation of lawyers using technology to its potential,” Dreyfus said.

Dean of Curtin Law School Professor Robert Cunningham described the virtual pop-up course as an “extremely successful experiment”.

“Curtin Link is looking forward to the future of integrated professional practice and higher education and ensuring that people have access to justice”, he says.

“It’s about supporting organisations and social enterprises trying to make the world a better place tomorrow.”

We congratulate the following winning team members who will go on to undertake an internship with Wrays:

  • Alexander Carr
  • Melanie Noid
  • Nadine El-Mowafy
  • Taniea Sym

Curtin Link will continue on its path to inspire innovation and hopes to offer this pop-up course again in the future.

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