Law Apps is an innovative elective subject taught in the Melbourne JD, in which students work with not-for-profit organisations to design, build and release a web-based application that provides expert legal information to non-lawyers.
In Law Apps, students assist organisations in the not-for-profit sector to address the concerns of their clients and the broader community.
This subject has been taught for the last three years. Apps may provide self-help tools, support for lawyers and workers in other organisations, or triage tools. Apps provide tailored legal information to the end user.
Examples of apps built by Law App students in previous years include:
- Not for Profit Law: Getting Started – Decision Framework
- Youth Law: My Rights
- Job Watch: Employment Rights Information App
- Consumer Action: Consumer Lease Compass
In 2018, with support from Herbert Smith Freehills, we called for expressions of interest from not-for-profit legal service providers and other public interest organisations to collaborate with our students.
What does it involve?
Students in Law Apps collaborate with their not-for-profit organisation to identify common legal problems that can be answered through a series of structured questions.
This involves visiting the organisations and meeting with key staff so that students understand the relevant needs and concerns of clients and the wider non-lawyer public.
The applications are built on a platform provided by the software provider, Neota Logic. If the organisation chooses to use the app after the end of the semester Neota Logic will provide free hosting of the app for 2 years.
At the end of semester, student groups present their apps to an invited panel of experts and the winning group will receive the Herbert Smith Freehills Best Law App prize.