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Ukraine crisis: Law students and lawyers look to tackle immigration challenges using lawtech

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Profession addresses visa, language and resource issues during 48-hour ‘idea sprint’

Law students and solicitors have come together as part of a virtual ‘idea sprint’ in the hope of using legal technology to address some of the challenges faced by people fleeing Ukraine, and the organisations and lawyers seeking to assist them.

The event, dubbed Support48, saw eight teams tackle four key challenges over a two day period earlier this month. There were: ensuring speedier integration into society; ensuring access to justice when immigrating; ensuring lawyers have the tools to succeed; and ensuring coordination of support.

One team made up of 21 lawyers from UK law firm Weightmans designed a multi-language app to help immigration lawyers reduce the time it takes to gather initial information for a person’s claim. Another example includes a visa application tool designed by a group of students from BPP Law School that uses a questionnaire and document automation to streamline the current process in multiple jurisdictions.

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The project, run by Law School 2.0, a tech-focused educational initiative, is now seeking further support as seven of the eight teams look to move to the building phase and turn their solutions into reality. Weightmans, for example, is seeking jurisdiction-specific input from local immigration lawyers while the team of BPP students is looking for technical assistance and translators.

The legal profession has stepped up to offer assistance and financial support in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a little over a month ago.

Legal Cheek recently reported on the launch of the Ukraine Advice Project, a pro bono initiative connecting Ukrainians trying to find a legal way into the UK with immigration lawyers volunteering their time, while legal recruiters have also stepped up to help displaced Ukrainian lawyers find jobs in the UK.

In the City, meanwhile, international firms have donated large sums of money to various humanitarian and charitable causes, and some lawyers have even made the trip across Europe to personally deliver aid to those in need.

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