Skills Training & Hackathon

Hackathon Award

Prior to the conference on April 6-7, there will be a free skills training weekend and hackathon open to anyone. If you're not interested in the hackathon, consider dropping in for the skills building sessions.

Join the Tubman Project to learn new skills and help create open source tools for public defenders and/or their clients. We're looking for developers and attorneys since legal considerations will be just as important as technical ones. More to the point, they'll often be intertwined. For example, is there a possibility that communications across your app's encrypted channel may be subject to discovery?

What is a hackathon anyway? Joshua Tauberer puts it this way, and we tend to agree:

  • Hacking is creative problem solving. (It does not have to involve technology.)
  • A hackathon is any event of any duration where people come together to solve problems. Most hackathons I’ve run also have a parallel track for workshops.
  • Participants typically form groups of about 2-5 individuals, take out their laptops (if the event is technology themed), and dive into problems. Training workshops are a great parallel track especially for newcomers but also for all participants.
    -How to Run a Successful Hackathon

    What is the Tubman Project? The short answer, a collection of civic minded technologist working to help improve the criminal justice system. For a longer answer, check out this post by Tubman Project director Darrell Malone describing his work with Tubman and the last hackathon we hosted together back in November—The Tubman Project.

    Is there a cash prize? Yes. There will be $3,000 in prizes (a $2,000 Grand Prize, and $1,000 for the runner up).

    Is there a set challenge? Only that you build a tool to help public defenders or their clients. After that, it's up to the judges to pick the "best." You can learn about our judges by clicking on their names. They are Darrell Malone, Adrian Angus, Anthony Benedetti (the head of MA's public defenders), Dyane O'Leary, and Cynthia Mousseau.

    Any special requirements for entries? Yes, to be eligible, entries must open source their codebase, and at least one of your team members must be able to demo for the judges on Monday from 4-6pm.

    Do I need a team/idea before I show up? No, but please register so we can help coordinate team formation and the like. See How do I sign up? below. We expect there to be a mix of folks showing up on the day of with and without teams.

    Do I have to wait to start coding? Mostly yes. You can start from scratch on Saturday or you can build on an existing open source project. If you build on an existing project, however, you will be judged on the value added over the weekend, not the final project. Consequently, continuing projects will have to provide documentation of the project's starting state and their contributions (e.g., commits on GitHub).

    How do I sign up? If you are attending LITCon2019, you can check the appropriate boxes as part of the online registration. Otherwise, you can register over on Meetup or Devpost.

    When and where do I show up? 73 Tremont Street, Room 5070, Boston, MA 02108 on Saturday the 6th.


    Saturday, April 6th

    12:00 PM - 2:30 PM
    Lunch, Introduction, & Structured Skills Building Sessions

    Skills building sessions will include trainings on three open source tools for creating guided interviews and auto-generating documents--A2J Author, Docassemble, and QnA Markup. The hackathon portion of the weekend is in partnership with the Tubman Project and will focus on creating tools for public defenders and their clients.

    Darrell Malone
    David Colarusso
    Jessica Frank
    Tobias Nteireho
    Jonathan Pyle
    Quinten Steenhuis
    2:30 PM - 9:00 PM

    Hang out and try your hand at building something with your new skills and/or join a team and build something for the hackathon proper. Darrell and David will be on site to answer your questions.

    Darrell Malone
    David Colarusso

    Sunday, April 7th

    9:00 AM - 9:00 PM

    Continue working on your project or just hang out and enjoy the vibe. Again, Darrell and David will be on site to answer your questions.

    Darrell Malone
    David Colarusso

    Monday, April 8th

    4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
    Reception, Project Demos, Judging, & Awards

    Demo your projects for the judges and attendees of LITCon2019 while enjoying a drink and some hors d'oeuvres in the Blue Sky Lounge at 120 Tremont St.

    Darrell Malone
    Adrian Angus
    Anthony Benedetti
    Dyane O'Leary
    Cynthia Mousseau