Nine Teams Compete in Third Annual National Legal Innovation Tournament

By Mark Berman

October 24, 2023

Nine Teams Compete in Third Annual National Legal Innovation Tournament


By Mark Berman

Innovation Tournament

Team from Florida State College of Law Wins This Year Competition

On Friday, October 13, nine teams comprised of law and engineering students from around the country participated in the third annual National Legal Innovation Tournament, an interdisciplinary competition hosted by Hofstra’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the New York State Bar Association.

The one-day virtual competition challenges students to design apps that will help change the face of dispute resolution. The Tournament was sponsored by JAMS, American Arbitration Association and the NYSBA Dispute Resolution Section.

Raymond Betancourt and Paul DeCoste from Florida State University College of Law won this year’s tournament for their idea Privity, an AI-powered app that simplifies legal jargon and makes legal documents easy for anyone to understand.

“Hofstra Law’s National Legal Innovation Tournament empowers students to think beyond the textbook, preparing them for a legal future where innovation is the driving force,” said Betancourt. “As we embrace change, we’re not only celebrating this win; we’re celebrating a future where Privity AI allows individuals to navigate the complexities of legal documents with confidence and ease.”

DeCoste added, “I am truly honored to have won the Legal Innovation Tournament. Our app, Privity, has the potential to revolutionize the legal industry by simplifying legal documents. This experience has been an incredible validation of our vision and hard work, and it motivates us to continue pushing the boundaries of legal technology.”

The National Legal Innovation Tournament was organized by its co-founders John Tsiforas, director of law & technology at Hofstra Law, and Mark Berman, member, Bond, Schoeneck & King and founding chair, Committee on Technology and the Legal Profession, New York State Bar Association with Dr. Richard Hayes, executive director of Hofstra’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“When looking at the legal system, law students must learn to become proactive problem identifiers and solvers,” said Tsiforas. “I was inspired to see students take that step and learn how to use technology to solve such problems. The Tournament teaches students how to make this groundbreaking cultural change within the legal profession.”

“The students came to the Tournament with fresh ideas to help solve common everyday problems in a way only younger lawyers could see. The beauty of the Innovation Tournament is that there is no limit to what problem a student would like to solve, and it is terrific to watch their creative juices at work,” said Berman.

Added Dr. Hayes, “Creativity is at the heart of innovation. It was both amazing and refreshing to witness the spirit of creativity and innovation as demonstrated by the participating law and computer science students. The participating students provided real examples of how technology can be used to advance equity and justice.”

The final round also included a team of two Hofstra Law students, Philip Coatl and Jalen Coleman, and a Hofstra engineering student, Sandro Amaglobeli. The final round was judged by:

Edward Currie, Associate Professor of Engineering, Hofstra University

Karen Milton, Senior Consultant, Danosky & Associates LLC and Former Circuit Executive, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Ashira Ostrow, Peter S. Kalikow Distinguished Professor of Real Estate and Land Use Law, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Executive Director of the Wilbur F. Breslin Center for Real Estate Studies, Hofstra Law

Judge Saliann Scarpulla, First Department, Appellate Division

Christine Sisario, Director of Technology, New York State Office of Court Administration

Learn more about the National Legal Innovation Tournament.

Innovation Tournament Innovation Tournament

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