LITSA Hackathon 2014-2015
POA Assister - Daniel A. Cielinski
Brief Statement Life is full of twists and turns, both unexpected and expected.  On one hand, tragedy may strike that physically or mentally limits your capacity.  On the other hand, we all know that, unless interrupted, we’ll grow old and likely lose our capacity.  At some point, most of us will lose the ability to handle our affairs.  Before our judgment falters, it is in our best interest to assure someone we trust will be there to take care of our legal, financial, and health care matters.  This is why we have the ability to assign a durable power of attorney: so we can confer authority preemptive to our potential incapacity. Enter the Power of Attorney Assister (name subject to change), a simple, comprehensive, and easy-to-use solution to a gloomy legal concern.  My QnA Markup enables users, from the comfort of their laptop, to inform themselves about the significance of and draft a document assigning a General Durable Power of Attorney. The Power of Attorney Assister is designed for a layman.  It defeats unnecessary legal costs for the average Joe.  Most importantly, it is entirely customizable. Judges should note the customization qualities of my QnA Markup.  Several optional and alternative clauses, paragraphs, and powers appear on the final document draft at the choice of the user, who merely selects a button to include provisions that they desire.  At the end, they have the option to continue to edit their General Durable Power of Attorney.  Of course, this is not legal advice, and users are recommended to present their drafted document to legal counsel for review. Optional/Alternative provisions include:

  • Assigning and alternative agent
  • Limitations based upon a Health Care Proxy, where users may:
    • Limit authority granted to agent as excluding authority granted to a proxy, or
    • Grant health care related authority, or
    • Opt to assign health care related authority to a separate agent (a link provided redirects to my sister QnA, the Health Care Proxy Assister).
  • A “springing” durable power clause, or a “effective immediately” clause
  • Recommended powers assigned to agent
  • Options to enter limitations, either now or later

Judges may want to complete a draft several times, to see all the conditional provisions available to users.  I hope you find my Power of Attorney Assister helpful, and feel free to draft a General Durable Power of Attorney for yourself while your judging!  

Conflicts Help - Katelyn E. Wescott
Brief Statement Conflicts Help is a tool for both attorneys and clients. It is centered on enforcement of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, particularly the conflicts of interest that arise with current clients and former clients. The tool asks either the attorney or the client a series of questions and determines if there is a conflict of interest. On the attorney side, the tool can help draft a waiver letter to send to their client(s) so they may proceed in representation.  It gathers the relevant information, plugs it into a pre-written waiver letter (to be improved) and creates  a complete document to send off to a former client/client. It even includes signature lines for the attorney and the relevant parties. The client side exists because pro se litigants may not know about the conflict of interest laws. If they are pro se and their adverse party is being represented by an attorney they worked with in a prior matter, they need to know that this is a violation. It acts as a way to inform them of their rights and urges them to seek legal counsel if there is a conflict of interest. It even links them to the ABA referral service to find an attorney. Conflicts Help has the potential to expand to incorporate many more model rules and help as a guide to new attorneys and pro se clients. It is also a great study tool for students taking the MPRE. Conflicts Help could also be used internally at a law firm, in an abbreviated version, to help attorneys plug in client details and generate waiver letters. It could be shortened to just a few questions to obtain the necessary details included in a letter. This would encourage attorneys to follow the ethical rules by simplifying the process. Enjoy!
Find My IP - Vedika Mehera
Brief Statement Intellectual property is known to be a very complex field and one that continues to intimidate people. At the same time, we live in an age where art and expression, creativity and invention, and freelancing and start-ups are thriving more than ever.  In the last year, I have talked with and helped a significant number of people figure how best to protect their intellectual property. Since this group has comprised of small business owners and individuals starting their own companies, the kind of protection they are looking for is not the kind that companies like Starbucks and Apple need, but rather, just some basic level of rights in their IP. While the solution is most commonly a trademark filing, it is a daunting task nonetheless, for individuals to outline and answer the relevant questions: what is the difference between a patent, trademark, and copyright filing? Which one could my work potentially qualify for? How do I even begin figuring this out? Find My IP is an application designed to answer these various questions. As mentioned, it is intended to help individuals or small business owners find the most basic level of protection available for the kind of work they have. The application does not intend to help users figure out whether their work will actually result in a successful patent, trademark, or copyright filing. Rather, it will simply evaluate the work through a serious of questions and send the user to the appropriate starting point. So for example, the user will have some kind of work that could either be a company logo, a book they wrote, a movie they produced, a nifty gadget they invented, and so on, and using the application, they will attempt to figure out the most appropriate and basic level protection they can receive under IP law.
Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) - Jodie E. Gurry
Brief Statement This application is intended to be used to determine whether a child qualifies as a Child Requiring Assistance or can be used to understand what is likely to happen in court after an Application for a Child Requiring Assistance has been filed.  When using the MassLegalHelp website (http://www.masslegalhelp.org/), the CRA instruction is very limited, hence the need for this application.


Lawyering in the Age of Smart Machines
Federal SMJ - QnA Project - Jeremy Koufakis
Social Security Retirement Benefit Questionnaire - QnA Project - Daniel Cielinski
Bankruptcy - QnA Project - Sean Seaman