The lawyers of tomorrow need to be creative problem-solvers, and leaders prepared to take calculated risks.
Innovation and entrepreneurship aren’t words that come to mind when thinking about lawyers. In our ever-changing world, professionals across industries need to be dynamic, and ready to respond to many types of challenges.
The lawyers of tomorrow need to be creative problem-solvers, and leaders prepared to take calculated risks. These legal professionals will also need to be well-versed in the inner workings of the business world, possess a working knowledge of the tech industry, and have strong communication and organizational skills.
Law Without Walls (LWOW) breaks down the barriers between law and business. This event contributes to a growing global community of innovative, business-oriented students of law.
IE University was proud to host the LWOL kick off this year. Last week, the ConPosium was held at the University of Miami. Four IE University law students participated in this year’s LWOL, competing with students from the world’s top universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Fordham, and St. Gallen.
We had the chance to speak to this year’s participants—Santiago Menéndez, Sarah El Azouzi, Emil Pappaterra, and Luis Moyano, the winner of the online version of LWOL (LWOL X)—to learn more about their LWOW experience.
What is LWOW and the difference between the local and online version?
Emil: Law Without Walls is a multidisciplinary collaboration, involving 30 of the world’s best law schools, that deals with law, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Participants are placed in teams made up of a different universities and combined with mentors from top law firms, business leaders, and scholars. Each team is given a topic and they have to come up with a “Project of Worth.”
The main difference between the two versions of LWOW is that LWOW X is an entirely online version, whereas with LWOW Original, teams meet twice (Kick-off and ConPosium) for team-building activities and networking.
Luis: Although I was the winner of the LWOL X, I was invited to present the “Project of Worth” with my team at the ConPosium in Miami. That was a great experience for me.
What were your projects about?
Luis: When you get accepted by the LWOW organization, they let you choose from 15 different topics. For our “Project of Worth,” my team chose: “Even Tradition Can Be Enhanced with Technology: How Can IT Improve Important Protected Trial Processes?”
This project is essentially a business plan for a legal start-up that aims to solve the identified problem. In the beginning, we came up with a small claims court run by students, which will enable students to get practical experience and reduce the load of cases at courts. However, we found more important problems dealing with courts and technology. The main problem we tried to solve was the lack of legal technology used uniformly between the different courthouses.
Consequently, we created a website in which we would share the different types of technologies available at each courthouse. We would also have blueprints of each courtroom that would enable lawyers and law firms to check what is available in different courtrooms, helping them to decide what IT equipment they would need to buy or rent. Our website would also allow them to buy whatever they may need. Our business plan involved starting CourtUniformITy in the Southern District of Florida, and expanding to courthouses and arbitration tribunals across the United States, and eventually around the world.
Emil: Our project was called Lex Leader. It’s an app designed for the US legal market in which law students and junior lawyers could acquire leadership skills which are normally taught in other academic disciplines. Our app made it easy for these target audiences to learn the necessary leadership skills in 5- to 15-minute videos, readings, and voice notes.
Sarah: The question my team had to solve was “What can/should you do after BigLaw?” Our proposition was to develop an online platform to act as an intermediary between transitioning lawyers who have held long successful careers in big law firms and low-budget start-ups in need of legal advice to orchestrate a successful launch.
We are the bridge between innovation and experience. We help these big law firms transition the soon-to-be-retired attorneys into projects they can legally advise on while enjoying their retirement at the same time. These transitioning attorneys make up a huge market in southern Florida and want to stay relevant as they are financially stable with flexible schedules and at the same time altruistic. They want to give back to their communities.
Santiago: Our project was called Caspecto. Caspecto allows anyone with a potential legal case on personal injury to turn the uncertainty of going to court into an informed decision. By resorting to the most advanced question-answering technology and data analysis, Caspecto compares and contrasts variables in a particular case to the most likely outcomes. Caspecto helps individuals decide whether or not they should sue by relying on the revolutionary cognitive computing technology to assess the viability of a legal issue.
Who were your teammates and what was your role?
Sarah: We were a team composed of 3 members: Chelsea Pellegrino (University of Montreal, Canadian), Cullen Mahoney (University of Miami, American), and myself (IEU student, Moroccan-American). We were each educated in completely different systems which made our collaboration quite interesting, but more importantly, productive. I was in charge of recording whatever ideas we had discussed as a team, drafting the marketing techniques and statistics, and contributing to some of the financials.
Emil: My teammates were Josh Krakof from the University of Miami and Daniel Chua from University College London (UCL). Since I’m a business and law student, I was responsible for the marketing and financial section of our “Project of Worth.”
Luis: I was lucky to be on LWOW-X Team 1 with Jacqueline Kaleel from the University of Miami and Gloria Youran Wu from the Peking University School of Transnational Law. They are both very hard workers, creative, and passionate about law. I was mainly in charge of the financial part of the project as well as the competitive landscape. Even though we divided up the tasks, we all helped each other out. It was a lot of teamwork.
Santiago: My teammates were Andri Björgvin, from Bifröst University in Iceland, and Göktug Gürbüz, a Swiss student from University of St. Gallen. We all shared similar and overlapping roles in the design of our “Project of Worth.”
Why did you participate and how will it help you in your future career?
Emil: Being part of the LWOW community helps me network across the international legal sector. Also, the skills I acquired during this innovative project will shape how I deal with my future career in the legal profession.
Santiago: Innovation and technology are revolutionizing the legal world. Being part of LWOW has helped me become an active agent of change in this ongoing process.
What were your key takeaways of the whole experience?
Emil: My main takeaways from this whole experience is that the legal profession is not what it was in the 19th or 20th century. The world is changing. Globalization means that companies now have international reach. The legal profession used to be local, but in today’s world, we have to adapt to the new trends of the 21st century and follow where our clients are going. With LWOW, I have realized that the legal profession is in a moment of intense interconnection.
Luis: Another very important part of LWOW involves being creative and innovative. The instructors of the program are very approachable and after working with the team and the instructors, we have all been able to come up with something unique.
During the development of the project, at the Kick-Off and the ConPosium, you get to meet people from all around the world. Not only students from top business and law schools, but also a multidisciplinary team of mentors and experts in the legal field, as well as venture capitalists.
Sarah: Furthermore, the LWOW gives you insight into the possibility of molding one of the world’s oldest professions into something modern and innovative.
Santiago: Above all, extremely useful connections, good experience in giving presentations to a large audience, and most of all, beautiful friendships after months of hard work that culminate in the thrilling experience of presenting your “Project of Worth.
What advice would you give to students who want to participate?
Sarah: To those students who want to apply to the LWOW program, do it! It’s an incredible opportunity. Not only will you meet a variety of interesting people, but you will also challenge the potential of future lawyers. My team and I are pushing to launch our project and test it in the Miami market in the upcoming year. If you want to challenge yourself, then this is something you can’t miss!
Emil: I would advise future LWOW participants to be bold, brave, and open-minded. Above all, think outside the box and search for the most unconventional solutions to end up with a game-changing “Project of Worth.”
Santiago: Be ready to work hard and step out of your comfort zone to interact with people from all cultural backgrounds (and time zones—this makes online teamwork challenging!). Be ready to meet young, passionate students dedicated to making law more accessible. You’ll also work with reputed professionals from a variety of backgrounds—investment, law, education, entrepreneurship, etc.—who will advise you generously and put you in contact with other professionals who can be of great help in developing your own career.
Also be ready to stand in front of a large group of people and deliver a groundbreaking project before a demanding but always supportive audience. Be prepared to form meaningful friendships and make the most of your time in Miami!
Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions with us. If you would like to learn more about the LL.B. or dual degree BBA-LL.B. please don’t hesitate to get in touch.