Skip to main content

LII’s First Hackathon

We held our first hackathon on Sunday March 24, 2024. Students from various schools came together at Cornell Law School for the event, forming five interdisciplinary teams to answer the question: How would you organize the content in Wex, our free legal dictionary and encyclopedia?

Before they arrived in Myron Taylor Hall on Sunday morning, we provided the students with a “Welcome Packet” containing a brief history and description of both LII in general and the Wex collection in specific. During the hackathon event, the teams had just over 6 hours to work together to prepare and propose their answer. All five teams came up with incredibly creative and unique ways to organize the content in Wex and to make the content more accessible to users. While it was difficult for judges to choose an overall winner–and all teams won a prize–our panel of judges ultimately awarded the grand prize to Team 5 – “ALIIGN.” Team ALIIGN consisted of Anurag Koyyada – a JD student from Cornell Law School, Jasmine Li – a Computer Science and Philosophy major from the College of Engineering, and Adler Weber & Christopher Price, both Computer Science majors and from the College of Arts & Sciences. ALIIGN was an initiative to streamline the Wex organization to:

  • Reorganize Wex Browse, replacing the traditional alphabetical searching system with a content tag and metadata tag-based tree hierarchy
  • Enhance the “Wex Search” capability – replacing our current CMS with a robust, fast ad-hoc vectorized search, and
  • Modernize the user interface.

All teams made wonderful pitches to our panel of judges: Cornell Law School’s Edward Cornell Law Librarian Kim Nayyer; Vanderbilt AI Law Lab Co-Director Mark Williams; Law Library of Congress Senior Legal Information Specialist Jennifer González; Adjunct Professor of Law, Managing Director of Justia’s Verdict, and Editor-in-Chief of the Oyez Project David Kemp: and LII’s own application programmer Matt Carey. We are grateful to our contestants and judges alike for their intellect and inspiration.

The prizes and event were funded by generous gifts from Barbara Lewis, B.S. ’65, M.A. ’67, and Jack Lewis, J.D. ’69, as well as Justia.

Images and video by Alexandra Bayer and Paul Newman / Cornell University.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.