Legal Innovation Tournament Winners Apply for Patent for App Design
The winning team of Ramona Miller and Michael Quintman from the annual National Legal Innovation Tournament are applying for patent protection of their winning app design.
“Help Decide” is the 2022 winning design in the competition co-hosted by the New York State Bar Association and the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra. It is a free social media platform where users can share concerns, ideas and get feedback on community disputes. The inventors, who are third year students at St. John’s University School of Law, say the app will also connect users with mediation services already available in the community. Once their patent is approved, the pair will continue working on building the prototype.
The Innovation Competition is unique in that law student teams are paired with students from Hofstra’s engineering and business programs along with legal advisers who are experts in the field of dispute resolution. Each team designs an app to tackle a problem affecting lawyers and the people they serve.
Hofstra Law School Dean Judge Gail Prudenti says the tournament is an example of collaboration that solves real-world problems. “We thank the New York State Bar Association and our sponsors for their visionary leadership in helping to advance our profession and train the next generation of attorneys,” she said.
New York State Bar Association President Sherry Levin Wallach says the tournament shows how new technologies can benefit the the legal profession. “Collaboration and mutual support is key to building better and smarter outcomes as we wrestle with the problems of the day and try to anticipate those of the future,” she said.
Quintman and Miller say the tournament was a new and different outlet for them to test their skills.
“There are so few opportunities as a law student to contribute to the pool of ideas involving access to justice and getting our court system and our justice system up to date post COVID,” said Miller. “This is a great way to brainstorm and contribute substantially to how we can increase access to justice and solve issues specifically in alternative dispute resolution.”
Quintman says the work he is doing now will help him pursue a career in litigation after graduation. “I’ve seen the power and the importance of alternative dispute resolution. It inspired me both in practice and in class to want to learn how to improve available ADR and how to be the best practitioner I can be in those settings.”
NYSBA Committee on Technology and the Legal Profession chair Mark Berman served as co-chair of the National Legal Innovation Tournament. He led the endeavor along with John Tsiforas, director of law and technology at Hofstra Law and Richard Hayes of Hofstra’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“We are in a high-tech world and we need to embrace technology to bring it to the people in order to help them with their everyday problems,” Berman said. “Students left to their own devices saw the need to improve mediation processes using an app so that our citizens can seek to resolve their disputes virtually in a fair and efficient way.”
Both Miller and Quintman encourage law students to take full advantage of the tournament next year.
“The solutions to the problems in our world have to come from someone, and oftentimes young people have amazing ideas,” said Miller. “It takes years, if not decades, to climb up in the ranks at an organization to try to get your idea heard. But here you can do it as early as your second year of law school. “
(l-r) Tournament winners Ramona Miller and Michael Quintman, judges in the final round