The LTL is one of the key outputs of two Law, Technology and Access to Justice Conferences organized by the UMKC School of Law and held at (and sponsored by) The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City in 2014 and 2015. By design, those conferences brought together leading law technologists, access to law and justice advocates, and entrepreneurship educators. The LTL was proposed by its current Program Director, John Cummins, of Queen Mary University London, after being inspired by a law tech and civic tech “prototype jam,” a variation of the growing legal hackathon movement, connected to an interdisciplinary and multi-institutional Law, Technology & Public Policy course launched at UMKC as a collaboration of a team of faculty there, Dazza Greenwood of the MIT Media Lab, and Jonathan Askin of the Brooklyn Law School.
The beginning of 2016 saw the initiation of a “Scoping Phase” for LTL. During that phase, and with funding from the Kauffman Foundation, an initial LTL community was formed and an impressive initial portfolio of prototyping projects assembled. With additional funding from the Kauffman Foundation, the Scoping Phase culminated in a two-day event at the MIT Media Lab in May of 2016 to explore and to further develop the LTL’s range of exciting legal technology, access to justice, and entrepreneurship advancing projects.
With continued funding from the Kauffman Foundation, an “Advancement Phase” was started in the fall of 2016 and continued through 2017 with an additional grant to UMKC that provides financial and program management support for projects led by innovators at multiple academic institutions in the U.S. and abroad. The LTL portfolio currently includes over a dozen projects that involve project leaders from 11 universities law schools, participation by faculty and students from 15 additional academic institutions, and several industry collaborators and other organizations.
Building on its successes to date, LTL’s three principal objectives heading into 2018 are to:
- Expand the LTL Community, in all key components—faculty and students form multiple disciplines; partnering networks involved with entrepreneurship and innovation, people first approaches to developing and deploying new technologies, digital equity, and social justice; law firms; tech industry partners; and sponsoring/funding partners.
- Broaden the LTL Projects Portfolio and bring the existing projects to a level of maturity where they have had demonstrable impact.
- Disseminate policy papers generated by the LTL Community relating to law, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.