BYU Law Reinforces Commitment to Innovation

BYU Law School announced today that it will host two visionary events in February, including the 2018 Blockchain Summit and the Global Legal Hackathon, both of which reinforce the law school’s commitment to innovation in the legal space.

 “These events are the latest examples of BYU Law’s legal technology innovation, and we expect our students to play a prominent role in both, alongside entrepreneurs and professionals of diverse backgrounds,” said Gordon Smith, Dean, BYU Law. “BYU Law is located along Utah’s Wasatch Front, which has been dubbed the Silicon Slopes for its rich entrepreneurial environment, attracting technologists, venture capitalists, incubators and ambitious students.  It is fertile ground for the type of innovation these initiatives represent.”

Blockchain Summit

On Friday, Feb. 16, the 2018 BYU Blockchain Summit will bring preeminent scholars, practitioners and thought leaders to Utah to further the conversation of how blockchain technology is transforming markets, institutions, digital relationships and civic life. The 2018 BYU Blockchain Summit is co-sponsored by the BYU MBA program (, Parsons Behle & Latimer (, Peak Ventures ( and ULedger (

The keynote speakers at the 2018 BYU Blockchain Summit include Jonathan Johnson, a BYU Law alumnus and the president of Medici Ventures, Inc. – a subsidiary of Overstock that focuses on advancing blockchain; Timothy Ruff, CEO of Evrnym, an identity authentication company; and Jai Massari, a financial institutions partner in the Washington of Davis Polk & Wardwell. The schedule also features several panel discussions, including: Emergence of Cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings, Property and Real Estate, Financial Applications of Blockchain and Disruptive Potential of Blockchain. Panelists will include BYU Law alumni Eric Vogeler, COO of Stockchain Global Utah, and Greg Pesci, president and CEO of Spera, Inc.

The summit, which was organized by third-year BYU Law student Ryan Lewis, will be held at the Hinckley Alumni Center on BYU campus on Feb. 16, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will include lunch. Online registration is available at

Global Legal Hackathon

BYU Law has been selected as a host site of the first-ever Global Legal Hackathon. Organized by IBM Watson and Integra Ledger, it will be the largest legal hackathon in history, incorporating more than 39 cities on six continents, over 10,000 participants and 54 hours of hacking. The winning teams throughout the world will be judged by an international panel, culminating in an awards banquet in New York City. Hosting the Global Legal Hackathon is made possible by sponsors Patent Law Works ( and Parsons Behle & Latimer (

During the hackathon, teams, which consist of three or more professionals or students, will collaborate to create a working prototype of a new technology associated with the law. All types of technologies are welcome, including blockchain, and their application can be for private or public benefit. BYU undergraduate students and BYU Law students are preparing to tackle difficult issues from how to make filing a sexual harassment claim easier to how to make municipal law accessible.

The teams will start their work on Thursday, Feb. 22, with final pitching to the judging panel of local experts taking place the evening of Saturday, Feb. 24. Participation is free of charge, and online registration is available at Walk-in registrants are welcome. BYU Law will provide several meals and study rooms for breakout sessions, as well as the use of the BYU Law School Commons, which offers an excellent, relaxed venue for collaboration.

“When I came to law school, I saw many aspects of the industry were ripe for disruption. Through the hackathon and the Blockchain Summit, BYU Law continues to dedicate its expertise and resources to enabling its students to compete in the changing global marketplace,” said George Simons, second-year BYU Law student and Global Legal Hackathon host co-organizer. “The law needs more coders as the role of technology continues to expand in the legal space, and I am excited to have helped bring this event to Utah and to see what type of legal innovation it will produce.”

Other Blockchain Summit co-organizers include Lewis; Andrew Evans, BYU Law JD/MPA candidate; Keltson Howell, BYU Design student; Arthur Buck, BYU Computer Science student; and Matt Gale, Director of Business Development at Simple Citizen.