A conference later this month at the University of Miami will highlight innovative prototypes to solving problems in law and business that have been developed over four months by teams of law students and mentors from around the world.
At the April 21-22 ConPosium, the teams will showcase their innovations to a multidisciplinary panel of judges, including venture capitalists, who will assess the substance, visibility and creativity of the projects.
The conference is the capstone event of LawWithoutWalls, a program that teams 100 students from more than 30 law and business schools around the world with academic, business, entrepreneur, and legal mentors. Over four months, the teams identify a problem related to law, and then create a business plan for a solution and a prototype — often a legal startup.
Sponsored by the University of Miami School of Law, LWOW’s goal is to train future lawyers and retrain current lawyers to create innovations that solve problems at the intersection of law, business, and technology.
Michele DeStefano, founder and director of LWOW, tells me that some 35 multi-disciplinary teams each year are put on a 16-week innovation cycle. Each team is given a challenge sponsored by a major corporation or law firm, including Spotify, Microsoft, HBSC, Linklaters, Clyde & Co, Holland & Knight, Eversheds, Janders Dean and Legal Zoom. The teams are charged with fine-tuning the problem and creating a viable solution – with a business case, prototype and commercial.
The ConPosium is an interactive event with live chat, music, judges and audience participation. “Think American Idol meets Dragon’s Den,” DeStefano says. Students present their projects and are judged by a trans-disciplinary panel consisting of venture capitalists, lawyers, academics, entrepreneurs, and business professionals. Audience members also get to voice their opinions through live chat and real-time voting.