The Workchop Conversations is an ongoing series of conversations with different players in both the legal tech & justicetech space, sharing about their work and innovative role within the space, promoting access to justice in Africa.
Our next conversation is with Selina Onyando, Tech Policy Fellow at The Lawyers Hub, Kenya where she works in promoting creative policy solutions for inclusive and sustainable digital economies.
What does your job as a Tech Policy Fellow entail? Could you give us a peep into your everyday life at work.
As a Tech Policy Fellow, most of my work is centered around capacity building for young entrepreneurs in Africa, as well as policy review and co-creation. A typical day consists of meetings with the Lawyers Hub team and partners. In the evenings, I like to get into research and drafting. Its the best time for me to work; there are not as many distractions.
What apps, gadgets, or tools have you been relying on to work from home, and how do you use them?
I always have my laptop, phone and tablet with me. I use them interchangeably depending on where I am or what I’m working on. I rely heavily on my phone for calls, emails and working on documents on the fly. For apps, Zoom is my go-to platform for meetings. I also leverage monday.com to keep track of my tasks and what the rest of the team is up to. I cannot live without iCalendar as it helps me keep track of events and meetings. My most important app has to be Google Docs. Its easier to co-create with and syncs well with all my devices.
What are you currently reading, watching or listening to?
My current read is, Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi. I hope to delve more into that. I’m not big on TV, but can’t stop watching Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix. A huge chunk of my free time is spent listening to music. I currently have a few albums on rotation, including, Amaaraes, The Angel You Don’t Know and Freddie Gibbs, Alfredo. I’ve also been listening to a playlist that I curate every year; it features my favourite tracks from 2020.
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…
Exxus built Save; A digital platform that financially empowers Savings Groups sustainably through a comprehensive, adequate, open and user-friendly Saving Groups ledger handling.
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.
Peleza specialises in background checks. They use official data sources (local and international) to screen candidates while complying with any privacy legislation in force.
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…
Lenoma Legal specializes in commercial and labour matters for small and medium businesses. Making legal services affordable and accessible.
Pop.Law makes ‘law for everyone’ by putting people first, followed closely with friendly and affordable legal help from exceptional lawyers.
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…
Curacel is a claims automation and fraud detection platform for health insurance.
donate-ngis a platform that hosts verifiedcrowdfunding campaigns for social causes.
Mamamoni is a peer to peer lending platform for women entrepreneurs in rural and urban slums.
Stand to End Rape Initiative advocates against sexual violence and supports survivors of sexual violence with pro bono legal and psychosocial services
Transgov collects, analyzes, archives, and disseminates user-friendly data on the state of development projects and service delivery in Ghana.
iVerify provides identity verification services for individuals and corporates.
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 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.
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.
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
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
Appropriate sentencing choices when sentencing defendants with similar profiles
Online dispute resolution
Automated archiving and retrieval of documents
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.