African Startups Admitted into the HiiL Justice Accelerator 2020/21

African Startups Admitted into the HiiL Justice Accelerator 2020/21

The HiiL Justice Accelerator scouts for and supports the best justice innovations in a region or country. The organization has supported over 110 startups worldwide since 2011. The support includes training, mentorship and a £10,000 non-equity grant, as well as opportunities for networking. This year, hundreds of startups applied during the accelerator’s call for applications and a number of them were admitted in the 2020/21 cohort of the accelerator program.

About the Startups…

From East Africa, meet…

  1. Exxus built Save; A digital platform that financially empowers Savings Groups sustainably through a comprehensive, adequate, open and user-friendly Saving Groups ledger handling.
  2. Kakuma Ventures creates a platform that enables Africa refugees to become entrepreneurs by building sustainable businesses that provide healthy food, clean water. Logistics services, healthcare, education, shelter, clothing and technology services. 
  3. Peleza specialises in background checks. They use official data sources (local and international) to screen candidates while complying with any privacy legislation in force.
  4. Utatuzi Centre connects forward-thinking companies with Alternative Dispute Resolution strategies to resolve any and all legal disputes occurring within the company. 

From South Africa, we have…

  1. Lenoma Legal specializes in commercial and labour matters for small and medium businesses. Making legal services affordable and accessible.
  2. Pop.Law makes ‘law for everyone’ by putting people first, followed closely with friendly and affordable legal help from exceptional lawyers. 
  3. Luma Law is an artificial intelligence chatbot that uses  machine learning and natural language processing in order to learn and communicate with its users breaking down barriers that limit their access to information about the protections of the law.

From West Africa, meet…

  1. Curacel is a claims automation and fraud detection platform for health insurance.  
  2. donate-ng is a platform that hosts verified crowdfunding campaigns for social causes.  
  3. Mamamoni is a peer to peer lending platform for women entrepreneurs in rural and urban slums. 
  4. Stand to End Rape Initiative advocates against sexual violence and supports survivors of sexual violence with pro bono legal and psychosocial services
  5. Transgov collects, analyzes, archives, and disseminates user-friendly data on the state of development projects and service delivery in Ghana.
  6. iVerify provides identity verification services for individuals and corporates. 
Congratulations to all the startups admitted into the accelerator.

The startups will participate in the 4-month Hill Justice Accelerator Academy which started on November 4 and will receive £10,000 in non-equity funding. They also get to pitch at the Innovating Justice Forum happening from 8 to 10 of February 2021.

Is your organization developing sustainable, scalable solutions to pressing justice needs? Are you creating access to justice, reducing inequality and unfairness? Then be on the lookout for the next Call for Applications of the Innovating Justice Challenge of the HiiL Justice Accelerator.

The Workchop Conversations with Elizabeth Babatunde

The Workchop Conversations with Elizabeth Babatunde

The Workchop Conversations is an ongoing series of conversations with different players in both the legaltech & justicetech space, sharing about their work and innovative role within the space, promoting access to justice in Africa.

Our first conversation is with Elizabeth Babatunde,  a lawyer, business developer and product manager with LawPavilion Business Solutions.

Tell us about yourself and what you do at LawPavillion.

I am Elizabeth Babatunde, a lawyer, business developer and product manager. I am passionate about building people, products and businesses. I am essentially a creative person. At LawPavilion, I work as a Product Manager. I currently manage the LawPavilion Prime product portfolio: leading in the development of all the technological versions – Prime Desktop Distribution (Windows and MAC OS) and Mobile application (Android and iOS). My work in LawPavilion is an interesting roller coaster that allows me to work with cross-functional and global teams. It also involves continuous research, user engagement and contributing to the brand positioning of the products developed by the company. 

What is your everyday life like at work?

Work in LawPavilion is exciting and impacting, as everything is constantly morphing into something bigger and better. This simply means that what you know today isn’t enough for tomorrow. My typical workday starts with meetings and ends with a mind full of ideas that need re-working.

What led you down the Product manager path and would you change anything?

I think it is my love for seeing ideas take on a life of their own. I wouldn’t change anything, yet.

Tell us a bit about the products you manage.

The products I manage form a portfolio of the company’s most popular and most-used product – LawPavilion Prime. Prime is Nigeria’s first tech-enabled legal research and legal analytics tool. It is serviced by one of the largest legal databases in Nigeria, and so, it provides its users with access to e-Law Reports (the popularly cited LPELR – developed by LawPavilion over a decade ago), LFN, State Laws, Textbooks and Journals, Rules and Regulations – federal and state – just to mention a few. The product is designed to service users across a spectrum of technologies. Prime is developed using the Agile SCRUM methodology and is constantly being upgraded to meet user needs and global standards. 

The future of the product is a full scale global legal research and analytics solution for everyone seeking information about the law or seeking or servicing access to justice. 

To aid your productivity, what tech tools have you been relying on to work, and how do you use them?

 My go-to tools for working from home is the Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) – it provides all the collaborative tools I need. GitLab for managing my engineering teams. Zoom Meetings for stakeholder meetings. Slack functions as my virtual workspace. Zoho Mail. Miro, Figma and XD for prototypes and visual mockups. My laptop and smart phone. Lastly, I always have my pen and notebook as the most reliable backup and “think-pad”. 

 Wondering what you are currently reading, watching or listening to?

Currently watching Gotham 

Who would you like us to ask these questions?

Ogunsua Gabriel, Senior UI/UX Developer at LawPavilion Business Solutions.

Top 50 in Legal Innovation in Africa: Meet the Awardees

At the just concluded Africa Legal Innovation Week 2020 that held virtually from the 1st – 4th of December, the organizers, Africa Law Tech recognized 50 Africans making great strides in legal innovation at the Africa Legal Innovation Awards, 2020.

And the awards go to…

Moe Odele, Founder, Vazi Legal and Scale my Hustle, Nigeria

Walid Ghanemi, CEO at Legal doctrine

Faith Obafemi, Head of Strategy, Future-Proof Intelligence & Faculty Member, Africa Blockchain Institute.

Kirunda Robert, Partner: Kirunda & Wasige advocates & Coverner: Center for law z7 emerging technologies, Makerere

Dr. Nnenna Ifeanyi-Ajufo; Senior Lecturer of law and technology, School of Law, Swansea University, United Kingdom.

Olumide Babalola; Author, Casebook on Data Protection Lawyer, Nigeria

Babatunde Ibidapo-Obe; Founder, LawPadi, Nigeria

Eva Sow Ebion; i4policy, Senegal

Nafissatou Tine; Founder & CEO, Sunulex Africa, Senegal

Jackie Nagtegaal; Law for All, South Africa

Ridwan Oloyede; Partner, Tech Hive, Nigeria

Gerald Abila; Founder, Barefoot Law, Uganda

Eric Kariuki; Justice Accelerator Head- East Africa at HiiL

Leah Molatseli; Co-founder & CEO, Lenoma Legal and Legal Technology & Innovation Specialist, South Africa

Rethabile Konopo; Founder-Legal & Systems Designer, Peroko Foundation, Botswana

Donald Ntsiki; Founder, E-legal Solutions Inc, Lesotho

Simba Mubvuma; Lawyer in Residence, Founder, LawBasket Lexware Inc, Zimbabwe

Danielle Moukouri Djengue, Esq; Managing Partner: D.Moukouri & Partners Cameroon

Alice Blazevic; Founder, Kampala Legal Hackers, Uganda

Solomon Okedara; Digital Rights Lawyers Initiative, Nigeria

Greg Kempe; Head of Tech & Co-founder Laws.Africa, South Africa

Mariya Badeva-Bright: Co-founder & Co-ordinator of the African Legal Information Institute

Mugambi Laibuta: Founder, Ole Law Podcast, Kenya

Kwame Yeboah; CEO & Co-founder at Inclusive Innovations Inc (Appruve), Ghana

June Okal; Legal Manager: American Tower, Kenya

Mor Bakhoum : Virtual University of Senegal

Jennifer Kaberi: CEO & Founder – Mtotonews.com

Jean Nepomuscene Mugengangabo; Founding Partner – Landmark Advocates, Rwanda

Dr. Isaac Rutenberg; Director of the Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law, Strathmore Law School, Kenya

Fred Waithaka; Head of Legal & Secretarial Services Safaricom, Kenya

Phoena Wall; President, Uganda Law Society

Olubusola Ajala; Founder, Strictly Law Business, Nigeria

Maria Mbeneka; Curator of Dijiti Podcast

Mercy Mutemi; Legal Practitioner, M S Law, Kenya

Steven De Backer; CEO & Founder, Afriwise

Ken Muhangi; Amani LLP, Kenya

Longet Terer; CEO, Kenya Law Report

Funkola Odeleye; CEO, DIYlaw, Nigeria

Naomi Thompson; Vice President, Legal Solutions

Odunoluwa Longe; Justice Accelerator Head, West Africa, HiiL

Berhan Taye; Terms & Conditions Podcast, Ethiopia

Kamel Oumnia; Co-founder and senior legal advisor of IncubMe, Algeria

Desmond Israel, Founder & Lead Consultant, Information Security Architects

Teki Akuetteh; Founder and Executive Director – Africa Digital Rights Hub, Ghana

Youssouf Ballo; CEO & Founder, Legafrik, Paris

Amiah Cecile; Ajutech Cameroon

Junior Luyindula; Managing Director chez Avocates.cd – DRC

Rosemary Kimwatu; Safaricom Legal Hackers – Kenya

Inemesit Dike – Legal Concierge – Nigeria

Nankunda Katangaza – Co-founder of Hook Tangaza, United Kingdom

Congratulations to all awardees. Cheers to more impact!!!

For access to the sessions of the Africa Legal Innovation Week, 2020, please go to www.africalawtech.com

Technology & The Future of Courts

Technology & The Future of Courts

Technology continues to challenge the way traditional legal services are delivered, and justice delivery is not excluded. Technology has necessitated adjustments that are both adaptive and innovative.

The adoption of online dispute resolution mechanisms and digital justice would lighten the burden of our courts. Relying on video conferencing technology to transmit information, could reduce the high cost involved in resolving disputes. Using digital technology, the court and lawyers can now access information remotely. This includes online legal documents, as well as real-time communication & collaboration.

It is expected of the courts to take a lead role in the adoption and implementation of technology both in legal practice and justice delivery. This comes with an emphasis on the facilitation of quick and just resolution of disputes in a cost-effective manner, while not losing the human character of the courts.

Digital technology would redefine the future of the court systems in some of the following ways:

  • Remote working and real-time collaboration
  • Electronic scheduling
  • Appropriate sentencing choices when sentencing defendants with similar profiles
  • Online dispute resolution
  • Automated archiving and retrieval of documents
  • Virtual courts

The rise and adoption of digital justice by the courts would help to ensure justice is served with speed, efficiency and transparency at low costs while making justice accessible to all. Of course, there is a need for proper training of court personnel in order for them to meet up and function properly with the trends in digital justice. Lawyers are not excluded from the need to be tech-savvy in order to keep pace with the rapidly changing demands of society. 

By Elizabeth Layeni | 8th of December, 2020

The Women in the Nigerian LegalTech Space

The Women in the Nigerian LegalTech Space

In celebration of International Women’s Day, 2020, Techlawyered would like to share with you the stories of extraordinary women in Nigeria who are innovating in their various roles, while leveraging technology to improve the legal practice and access to justice.

  1. Rahila Olu-Silas Ambassador, World Legal Summit (West Africa)
  • Biggest Success in LegalTech
    • Collaborating with Open Law Library Washington DC, a U.S.A based Not-for-Profit Organization to automate the process of Bill drafting, codification, and publication of laws in digital formats in Nigeria
  • What has been your biggest challenge in Legal Technology
    • Researching the legal framework that will enable the adoption of Machine-Consumable legislation in Nigeria. This will enable emerging technologies to consume our laws through APIs and process them without the human factor.
  • What motivates you to keep going?
    • The possibility of change in the way legal services is delivered in Nigeria

2. Funkola Odeleye , Co-founder and CEO at DIYLaw.ng

  • Biggest Success in LegalTech
    • I am not sure we have hit our biggest success yet but being able to simplify legal services and topics and making them attainable and understandable comes close
  • What has been your biggest challenge in Legal Technology
    • The problem that we are trying to solve is making legal services accessible and our biggest challenge is how to make it accessible for those without access to technology. It is an irony of sorts.
  • What motivates you to keep going?
    • The sheer number of jobs that are being created because people are able to launch their businesses through our platform keeps me going. Also, getting kind words and referrals from people who have used our platform is an affirmation that we are doing something right.

3. Adejoke Are , Co-founder/Project Lead, The Flemer Project

  • Biggest Success in LegalTech
    • I run an organization – the Flemer Project – that helps indigent pretrial detainees conclude their matters in court as quickly as possible, by leveraging on the support of young volunteer lawyers who directly provide legal representation to these detainees. Although we are never physically present in court to monitor the performance of our volunteer lawyers, incorporating technology into our solution has made monitoring and evaluating their work quite a seamless affair. Through this approach, we have been able to provide legal representation to almost 200 indigent pretrial detainees and to secure the release of 60 of them from prison.
  • What has been your biggest challenge in Legal Technology
    • I don’t have any technical experience or skill in building technology platforms and this has been a drag on the development of a comprehensive technology platform needed to manage our overall operations.
  • What motivates you to keep going?
    • The passion of our young volunteer lawyers who go over and beyond to give their best to people who can never repay them, and the fact that our solution literally changes people’s lives by helping them regain their freedom.

4. Oluwatosin Amusan , Product Development Lead, Mylaw.ng

  • Biggest Success in LegalTech
    • Delivering legal services to customers via technology, from the comfort of their couch. The fact that my team and I were able to develop products and show value enough to earn the trust of customers who end up drawing on the products on mylaw.ng and coming back for more.
  • What has been your biggest challenge in Legal Technology
    • Constantly answering the question “Is legal technology a viable sector in Nigeria”. Looking at it from a global perspective with 3 unicorns in legal tech this question does not surface in the international scene. However, In Nigeria, we have quite a number of legal tech startups who have to prove themselves 10 times harder, show double the traction required to prove that this is a viable sector.
  • What motivates you to keep going?
    • The refusal to settle for mediocrity. I make it a ritual to look back at works I have done in various facets of my life every six months, and without a doubt, I see the growth not just intellectually but in physical form. It is easy to get complacent with doing just what is required, but there is always room to improve and do better. No one changed the world by doing what just was required of them.

5. Faith Obafemi , Head of Strategy, Future-Proof Intelligence

  • Biggest Success in LegalTech
    • Establishing as a recognized expert in the blockchain space in less than 2 years. This has been a never-ending journey that has stretched me intellectually, financially, emotionally and otherwise. But, I have been better for it. I have met some of the most amazing persons on this journey. People who help broaden your horizon. 
  • What has been your biggest challenge in Legal Technology
    • Breaking/building a tech foundation. In the early days, things were just mostly Greek to me. But, the more I kept at it, the familiar it became and the easier it was to understand. 
  • What motivates you to keep going?
    • Money! Hahaha, I know most people would’ve been expecting something knight worthy like passion to help others, desire to impact, etc. Well, why all that is great, it still requires money. I am yet to see a broke person help another or have an impact on others.  So, yes, money motivates me to keep going. Because, with money as a tool, I can achieve other things that I hold dear.

6. Rhoda Obi-Adigwe, Founder Wemora.

  • Biggest Success in LegalTech
    • Our greatest success was when Hill gave us an award and a grant for our legal software which aids in the writing of will and creation of trust online. This was very inspiring to us knowing that our efforts were being recognized.
  • What has been your biggest challenge in Legal Technology
    • Our biggest challenge to legal technology is cultural and traditional bias. People are still skeptical to include their personal and private details online making it difficult to prepare legal documents for them. This fear also arises from the fact that the country has no stringent data policy laws.
  • What motivates you to keep going?
    • The legal tech space is evolving and we are beginning to see most traditional things done online like the CAC providing platforms for business registration, so our motivation is to keep pressing knowing fully well that these changes and policies will soon affect our own part of legal IT.

7. Yinka Bada , Lead Product Manager, LawPavilion Business Solutions

  • Biggest Success in LegalTech
    • One of the things I can consider as part of my biggest success in legal technology is two-fold: i. My involvement in conceptualizing and facilitating the development and continuous improvement of software solutions that solve challenges around Practice Management, Legal Research and Legal Drafting for lawyers and judges, hence improving their efficiency by making it easier for them to do more in less time than usual. I’ve been working with a team of bright minds to continuously improve the leading Electronic Law Reports platform; the only one with Legal Analytics, and most cited in courts by top lawyers, and judges of both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. ii. Leading and mentoring at different times,  young and aspiring Product Managers and Software Engineers  to passionately seek to identify the pain points in our justice delivery system, and  proffer innovative solutions
  • What has been your biggest challenge in Legal Technology
    • What I can consider as a challenge for me in legal technology is the huge amount of time, efforts and resources it has taken over the years to build and communicate the value of legal-tech solutions to the conservative legal industry; the sweet thing, however, is that this same industry is now embracing technology fully, and even asking for more
  • What motivates you to keep going?
    • The joy of facilitating an accelerated (albeit gradual) access to justice in Nigeria-  the possibility of having the practice of law and ultimately, the dispensation of justice continually become technologically improved for more efficiency and effectiveness.

8. Nankunda Katangaza , Co-founder, African Law & Tech Network (ALT Network)

  • Biggest Success in LegalTech
    • I guess my biggest success in legal technology was in following my hunch that there was a need and interest on the part of African legal professionals in technology and what it could do for the legal sector and creating the ALT Network to kick-start that conversation on the continent. The ALT Network has grown to over 150 individual and business members over the past two years and has a thriving community and activities across the continent which I could not have predicted when we set up the platform! Engaging with the fast-growing African tech community has brought incredible insight into the legal and regulatory needs of tech disruptors across all sectors. I am delighted that the Network has quickly grown into a valued pan-African interlocutor in the discussion between lawyers, technologists, and regulators to build effective, responsive and progressive frameworks for tech growth in Africa.
  • What has been your biggest challenge in Legal Technology
    • My biggest challenge is also one that can be described as a ‘first world problem’ in that it is the challenge of opportunity and time – so many opportunities, not enough time! In the short couple of years, it has been around, ALT has attracted a significant following and interest from across the African legal and tech sectors. Law cuts across each and every area of personal, public and commercial life and as such, ALT and its membership have a role to play across the continent from influencing public policy to creating tools for delivering access to the law to all. Finding the time to explore and follow all the possibilities and requests alongside a full-time job does keep me up at night!
  • What motivates you to keep going?
    • I have to say that the energy and enthusiasm of the ALT members is more motivation than anyone could ask for! Each day brings a new member. Each week brings a new idea and opportunity in a different country from an existing member so there’s never a quiet moment. But more than anything, the prospect of bringing together people and entities from across the continent who are all driven by the same thing – to create and build prosperity for all Africans through innovative tech use and creating an enabling legal environment for success. It has also been amazing to meet so many Africans working in different sectors and industries and to collaborate with some of them. Our recent partnership with Africa Digital Heritage, for example, to explore the legal issues arising in tech and the preservation of African cultural heritage was eye-opening and inspirational. I look forward to ALT continuing to be at the heart of similar collaborations and conversations over the years.

9. Odunoluwa Longe, Country Director, Acceleration (West Africa) at HiiL

  • Biggest Success in LegalTech
    • My greatest success is seeing the entrepreneurs succeed. Success here does not just entail in competitions but in the ecosystem as well.
  • What has been your biggest challenge in Legal Technology
    • My biggest challenge has been finding businesses that are solving justice problems and are focused on doing the same. A lot of people do not realize that justice is beyond just legal tech, It should be more focused on people gaining access to services that actually help them solve their problems.
  • What motivates you to keep going?
    • I am motivated by the need to help entrepreneurs and see them succeed.

Please join Techlawyered to celebrate these Wonder Women of Legal Tech.