Global Legal Hackathon Ottawa host — vLex — offers AI platform to hackathon participants

Compass/vLex Canada CEO Colin Lachance discusses AI platform Iceberg and what to expect at the Global Legal Hackathon event in Canada’s capital

In a move as generous as it is valuable, vLex LLC, together with Compass / vLex Canada, is offering a version of its advanced artificial intelligence platform — Iceberg — to participants in the Global Legal Hackathon.

The cloud-based AI platform has already helped vLex establish a “machine-driven classification of Canadian legal topics” and apply “deep learning methodologies to create a process for dynamic recommendations of highly similar cases.”

The product itself is versatile and could be used to improve a variety of processes in the legal industry, from importing public data sets to aiding with probabilistic data modelling to tracking engagement metrics and much more.

As Bob Ambrogi reports, “Iceberg was used to expedite the ingestion and normalization of the broad corpus of Canadian law and allow the launch of vLex Canada just a month later.”

Compass/vLex Canada CEO Colin Lachance explains, “Use cases for Iceberg include basically anything you can drive from combining sets of data, whether or not one of those data sets is primary law. For example, if someone combines a combination of internal and external data sets to develop a probabilistic estimate of a particular event occurring.”

He added, “Alternatively, by layering on a chatbot interface, Iceberg can be used to support a Q+A system depending on deep information resources.”

With the support of Invest Ottawa, vLex’s hackathon event will take place in Bayview Yards Innovation Centre in Ottawa, one of more than 30 Global Legal Hackathon events rolling out on February 23 around the world.

As part of vLex’s commitment to fostering innovation in the global legal market, Iceberg will be available to 100 Global Legal Hackathon teams that will each be able to upload a maximum of 10,000 documents.

“Each version of Iceberg made available to a team will come pre-loaded, according to the choice of the team, with either a complete collection of Canadian Federal Court decisions (~35,000) or a complete collection of US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decisions (~30,000),” says Lachance. “These collections were chosen because each primarily deals with cases brought by or against government or cases dealing with appeals from government agencies and administrative decision making bodies. Content will be pre-tagged across different fields.”

By making its technology available to teams around the world, vLex hopes “it is helping more people go further — faster — in discovering possibilities and identifying solutions,” explains Lachance.

“This hackathon has the potential to solidify a global community and really change the game on our collective expectations on how we work with legal information, including the discovery of our own abilities to create solutions rather than simply wait on the largest publishers to deliver packaged products,” says Lachance.

This is Lachance’s second time hosting a major legal hackathon. The former CEO of CanLII, Lachance says that he is excited to host the hackathon in Canada’s capital for numerous reasons. “[We] have all the ingredients needed to drive real change — including a booming tech sector, a vibrant legal community, a stellar law school, the national headquarters for both the Canadian Bar Association and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (the umbrella group for our regional legal regulators), as well as Canada’s Parliament, its Supreme and Federal courts, and the Federal Department of Justice.”

Indeed, it’s quite well situated. As Lachance says, “Showcasing how technology can move the needle on some of law’s biggest challenges within this community can have immediate and far-reaching impacts.”

Hackathon organizers in Ottawa expect “a minimum of 150 participants” and “plan to make a splash in this event that will make the other world capitals step up and take notice.”

vLex is also inviting other technical and content sponsors to get in touch with them to explore the potential for pre-event integration. Anyone interested should email Colin Lachance at Colin@compass.law.

As the whole purpose of being a technical or content sponsor is to make it easier for hackathon participants to accomplish great things,” says Lachance, “we believe it’s important to reduce the friction and headaches that participants may face in figuring out how to mix and mingle the sponsored inputs.” Amen.

For more information on Iceberg, read Colin Lachance’s recent post, or visit https://vlex.com/p/iceberg/. You can also follow Colin Lachance on Twitter @ColinLachance for updates on the platform and hackathon!

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