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Georgetown Law’s Institute for Technology Law & Policy and the Justice Lab at Georgetown Law are pleased to announce the inaugural Iron Tech Lawyer Invitational, a national competition for student-created tech solutions that help bridge the justice gap.

Student teams from qualifying universities are invited to a one-day pitch competition in Washington, D.C. to showcase a legal tech or data analysis tool they have developed for a pro bono organizational client.

The students must complete the work in an academic course, clinic, or supervised independent study during one semester (or the equivalent*) during the 2019-2020 academic year. Client organizations can include legal services organizations, law school clinics, or other non-profits focused on assisting people with civil legal problems.

Participating faculty are invited to submit one student project for the Invitational. Student teams will travel to Washington, D.C. to present their projects at the Iron Tech Student Invitational, hosted at Georgetown Law on April 17, 2020.

The Invitational is the first open version of Georgetown’s Iron Tech Lawyer Competition, which has now been in operation for 10 semesters under the leadership of Georgetown Professor Tanina Rostain. You can learn more about prior Iron Tech Lawyer projects by navigating the links to the side.


Projects will be evaluated by a panel of experts in access to civil justice, legal design and technology. The winning team will be awarded $5,000 in funding support to advance or complete their technology or data science solution.


The Iron Tech Lawyer Invitational is designed to encourage the creation of academic courses focused on the thoughtful development of technology and data-driven solutions to help improve the civil justice system. Student teams must be supported by a professor, and complete their project in an academic course, clinic or independent study.

Teams may consist of one student or a larger number. Participating students from any accredited academic institution of higher education can participate, including schools in other countries. All materials must be submitted in the English language.

Professors who are interested in sending a student team to the Invitational must meet the following criteria:

  • The students must complete a student project in an academic program, i.e. in an academic course, clinic, or supervised independent study.

  • The student project must involve the creation of a technology tool or data project that strengthens legal service delivery or otherwise improves access to the civil legal system.

  • The student project must be developed for a “client” that is a non-profit legal services provider, other non-profit, or law school clinic that assists people with their civil legal problems.

  • The student project must be supported by a faculty sponsor, such as the teacher of the course or supervisor of an independent study. Adjunct professors, lecturers and other teaching professionals are eligible to sponsor a project, provided they are listed as a professor for the academic course in which the project will be completed.

  • Sponsoring faculty need not be law faculty. The competition is open to all departments within a university, though projects must focus on a civil legal tech or data science solution developed to improve access to the civil justice system.

  • The student project must be completed in one semester (or the equivalent*) during the 2019-2020 academic year.

  • Professors may only submit one student project per course offering or program. Different professors who offer separate courses at the same university may each sponsor student teams. Faculty who teach at two or more schools may sponsor student teams from each school in which they teach.

  • The project submitted must be the work of the student team. Faculty and students will be asked to document any assistance received by the students and sign an honor code statement.

  • Projects may build upon prior work, but students must document their specific contributions, and will only be evaluated for the specific work they completed during the competition period.

*Note: Courses offered on a quarter or different academic system should contact organizers for clarification, at

Application Process

(1) Faculty Interest Form. Professors who are interested in sending a student team to the Iron Tech Invitational must complete a Faculty Interest Form by July 22, 2019. (This form may not be submitted by students). The Faculty Interest Form is intended as a high-level expression of interest; you do not yet need to select which students you will send, and client organizations and specific projects need not be identified.

(2) Follow-Up. Professors who have submitted a Faculty Interest Form will be contacted by the organizers to discuss the competition, shared pedagogical goals, and eligibility. [Update: an informational webinar hosted in August 2019 for interested faculty is available here].

(3) Faculty Application. Professors must submit a Faculty Application to secure a slot for one student project from their course or academic offering. Applicable deadlines are in the table below. At this stage, faculty must identify their client organizations and specific student projects. If the professor is supervising multiple student projects, they need not have selected which student project they will send to the Invitational. We expect that many professors will run their own mini-Iron Tech Competition to select which student team they sponsor for the Invitational.

(4) Selection of Qualifying Faculty. The Invitational’s organizers will confirm that qualifying faculty have met the above-described criteria and have been accepted to sponsor a student team for the Invitational.

(5) Submission of Final Student Projects & Documentation. Qualifying faculty will notify the Invitational’s organizers of the student project they have chosen to represent them, and submit a link to the final project and supporting documentation. Teams must cease all work at the end of the allotted period for the competition. Students and faculty will be asked to sign an honor statement indicating they will not work to improve or change their tool after the academic period ends.

Supporting documentation will include:

  • Project name and short-form description

  • Royalty-free image to illustrate the project in Invitational materials

  • Identification of software used for the project

  • Honor code statement

  • Description of any templates, models or other sources relied on in developing the project

  • Deployment plan for how the project is intended to be used, and how the project is suitable for scaling or replication for other organizations

  • Description of how the project serves the client needs and differs from existing tools serving similar needs

  • If the project expands upon prior work, description of work completed by the student team during the competition period

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Competition DAY

The competition will take place at Georgetown Law’s Washington D.C. campus on Friday, April 17, 2020. All participants are invited to a reception the evening before on Thursday, April 16, 2020.

On Competition Day, teams will participate in an initial round of competitions to select the finalist teams. Finalists will then compete against each other in a final afternoon round. The competitions will be open to the public and the final will be live-streamed online.

The organizers are currently seeking funding to provide need-based travel stipends to student teams. Since the success of these fundraising efforts are not guaranteed, we urge participating faculty to secure their own funding for their student team.

Evaluation Criteria

Projects will be judged by a panel of experts in access to justice, legal design and technology. Award criteria will include:

  • Usefulness

  • Completeness

  • Ambition & Creativity

  • Design

  • Student/Team Presentation

Factors to be considered include usability, sophistication, scalability, sustainability, impact, and the solution’s ability to address the client-organization’s needs. Projects should not simply replicate existing tools or data projects serving the same need. Judges will consider the solution developed by the students and the students’ presentation at the competition.


Professors are responsible for identifying and securing client organization(s) for the student projects, and are solely responsible for the relationship with any client organization. Schools must provide the necessary software to develop the application.

When sourcing potential client projects, professors are encouraged to think about scope, complexity, and the ability of students without technical backgrounds to participate in the team. Professors are encouraged to contact the organizers to receive recommendations about developing this type of curricular offering at their school. You can see examples of prior Iron Tech Lawyer projects from Georgetown Law by navigating the links to the side.

The organizers make no representation as to the accuracy, or suitability for use, of student projects submitted to the Iron Tech Invitational. Projects are not the work product of Georgetown Law or the organizers. The organizers reserve the right to amend the application or competition rules, and will provide notice to applicants of any changes.

Important Material


See our webinar, or email


The Iron Tech Lawyer Invitational is made possible through generous support from the Bigglesworth Family Foundation.

The Iron Tech Invitational is made possible by generous support from the Bigglesworth Family Foundation