Third-year Swinburne law student, Nicola Jerkovic, has worked with law students around the world to develop an innovative technology solution for the legal team at audio streaming platform Spotify, as part of the international Laws Without Walls (LWOW) competition.
The four-month competition brings together students from law schools around the world to design technology solutions and prototypes that address real world legal problems facing organisations. It aims to build the skills and knowledge of aspiring lawyers about the practical application of innovation and technology in the law.
Finding a tech solution
Nicola, who is studying a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), worked with an international team of law students to develop a search engine extension for Spotify’s licensing team, called Lighthouse.
Lighthouse enables Spotify’s legal team to find contracts quickly and easily, instead of using the current time-consuming process which had no naming conventions and was only managed by on person, enabling the loss of important information. The search engine extension synthesises data by extracting information stored in contract management tools to make contract discovery faster and simpler.
Nicola describes it as an innovative user-interface design that helps lawyers ‘intelligently and efficiently search for documents.’
‘Working with Spotify was innovative and fresh. Everyone was friendly and eager to collaborate regardless of experience,’ says Nicola.
At the end of the four months, Nicola and her team pitched their solution to a panel of judges which included the Chief Legal Officer at Spotify who congratulated them on their achievement.
Director of the Bachelor of Laws, Mitchell Adams mentored Nicola’s team during the competition and says the team found a solution to a ‘very real’ problem of productivity loss faced by legal teams around the world. ‘The Lighthouse solution is truly innovative with the potential to have an impact on a global scale.'
Nicola and her team presented their pitch online at the LWOW Competition to panel of judges, including the Chief Legal Officer of Spotify.
Nicola says the experience was not without its challenges, due to evolving feedback and organising a large team located all around the world and working at different hours of the day. However, she says that overwhelmingly the competition acted as ‘training-wheels in the professional space’ that developed her skills immensely.
The experience helped Nicola gain a deeper understanding of communication, the global legal marketplace and how innovation is impacting the work, expectations, and careers of legal professionals. She says her team was committed to ensuring all participants were engaged and had a good time throughout the competition.
‘Spirits were always high, and we were always able to have a laugh together,’ she says.
During the competition, Nicola drew upon what she had learnt at Swinburne, particularly in the Law School’s Legal Technology and Innovation unit, which gives students insight into the relationship between law and technology, and how the legal industry is adapting to new technologies.
Nicola says Swinburne Law School provides ‘closer relationships with lecturers and more professional opportunities within a tight-knit group of students’, which helped her prepare for the competition. In addition, she also participated in programs like the ANU Journal of Law and Technology (ANUJOLT) Hackathon with other law students, and ‘loved the challenge and process’ too.