CODE THE DEAL HACKATHON, October 24 and 25, 2015, UCLA School of Law

The LA Code the Deal Hackathon has thousands of dollars in cash prizes on offer for teams able to provide the best solutions to some of the challenges below.

Real Estate & Community Development Problem Statement

Los Angeles, like many other large US metro areas, is facing a severe affordability crisis.  According to a May 28, 2015 report from the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, over the last ten years an already competitive Los Angeles rental market tightened even further for tenants with the rental vacancy rate falling from 4.2% in 2006 to just 3.4% in 2013.  The only major U.S. city to have a lower vacancy rate in 2013 was San Francisco (2.4%).  This vacancy rate has pushed the proportion of severely rent burdened households in Los Angeles to over 34%. 

A March 17, 2015 report from the California Legislative Analyst's Office estimated that California would have to construct 100,000 more units than the current rate in order to mitigate the affordability problems. Many of the significant factors restraining production of housing identified in the LAO Report, which include the rejection of affordable housing developments by local referendum and adoption of limited growth policies, are political in nature.

Even without political hurdles, the legal transactions underlying the financing of a multifamily residential development, particularly with affordable housing, are extraordinarily complicated.  Affordable housing transactions often involve multiple public and private participants, complicated regulatory schemes with inconsistent requirements and subsidies from federal, state and local governments.  Lawyers play a critical role in making all of these parts work together but at the same time constitute a significant portion of the development budget.

All of these factors conspire to reduce the supply of housing, increase the proportion of rent burdened households and homelessness with resultant decreases in health and welfare along with hits to economic productivity.

We challenge you to create a product to address a problem faced by participants in the real estate market--whether tenants or potential tenants, government regulators and agencies, or real estate developers and investors.  Your product should address some problem presented in the world of real estate and community development which has a legal component.  As way of example, this could be a tool to improve the efficiency and efficacy of lawyers, a way for market participants to interact without formal intervention from a lawyer, an application that makes it easier for the public to understand the significance of a project (and the cost of rejecting it) or a product that reduces the transaction costs associated with converting public subsidies into housing units.  We encourage you to think carefully about who your customer is and what problems they face, as well as how effective your solution will be in addressing your customer's legal concerns.

Entertainment Problem Statement

Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world.  For many Hollywood and the entertainment industry are inextricably intertwined. The LA entertainment world, however, has undergone drastic changes in the last decade, as technology has transformed how content is created, distributed and consumed.  New players and industry segments are emerging in every part of the industry from on demand media streaming to mobile gaming to podcasts. Many of the conventional legal approaches have struggled to keep up.  Production which once took months and years can now take a few hours leaving old methods of verifying content ownership and dealing with licensing behind.  Collaborations and relationships between parties arise more quickly than word processing could possibly respond.  Portions of the marketplace that might have been niche, almost hobby platforms, now have significant value.  

We challenge you to create a product to help lawyers and the law not only keep up with the speed of this innovation but also find entirely new ways for lawyers to add value for the diverse network of activities and participants in the entertainment industry.  Your product should address some problem specific to the law and entertainment.  This could be a tool for entertainment lawyers to improve the efficiency and accuracy of their practice but also a new way for industry players to better use the law without, or with limited contact with, lawyers.  We encourage you to think carefully about who your customer is and what problems they face, as well as how effective your solution will be in addressing your customer's legal concern.

HP Haven on Demand Challenge

Jumpstart your real estate, entertainment law, or affordable housing app using combinations of APIs from HP. Whether it’s speech 2 text from audio/video, identifying PII in social media/on the web/in documents, or even text extraction from archive files/images/PDFs, Haven OnDemand has more than 70 APIs to help you out. You can be up and running in less than 5 minutes, and we have client libraries for the most popular programming languages including node.js, ruby, python, android, iOS, and Windows/Windows Phone 8.1. The most innovative use of our APIs wins the Haven OnDemand challenge and prize. Prize: 1 GoPro - HERO4 Session HD Waterproof Action Camera for each active member of the team that wins the HP Haven OnDemand challenge (max 5 units). See a video of how the API works here.

Kira API challenge

Interested in a machine learning API that reads contracts? Kira automatically identifies provisions from contracts in virtually any format, helping professionals work quickly and accurately through contract review tasks such as due diligence. Kira Systems’ customers, who include some of the world's largest corporations and professional services firms, have trusted Kira on over $100 billion of corporate transactions to date. There will be a total of $400 of gift card prizes available to the winning team. You can see you a recording of the webinar on the API here. A manual for the API can be found here.




At Nixon Peabody, we see 21st century law as a tool to help shape our clients’ futures. Our focus is on knowing what is important to our clients now and next so we can foresee obstacles and opportunities in their space and smooth the way. We use technology to innovate, learn, streamline and lean forward into the future, together with our clients. We're excited to sponsor Code the Deal for the second year in a row.


HP Haven on Demand provides a fast-track to data-driven insights. It’s an easy-to-consume suite of cloud services that you’ll have up and running in minutes. Developer-friendly APIs and advanced analytics enable you to create next-gen apps and services with ease.

Kira simplifies review and analysis of complex documents with a combination of the latest computer science and expert human know-how. Founded by a highly-experienced corporate lawyer and a machine learning expert from one of the top computer science programs in North America, Kira combines cutting-edge artificial intelligence with skilled legal expertise.

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Patch of Land aims to solve the problem of slow, inefficient, fragmented and obscure private real estate lending by using the latest technology, data and process efficiency to more accurately assign risk profiles and project viability, while greatly reducing time and cost of loan underwriting for borrowers with real estate projects that are overlooked or rejected by banks and traditional lenders.

E-STET creates custom technology solutions to enhance the litigation strategy of corporations, AmLaw 100 firms, and boutique law firms. Started in 2007 as a collaboration of computer scientists and lawyers, E-STET creates client-specific, customized solutions to mitigate the growing costs of service and infrastructure associated with big data. 

Legal Robot is Artificial intelligence for legal documents that helps people understand legal language by providing an instant breakdown and error check for contracts, helps people write better legal language, and lets businesses close deals faster. We are building the next generation of Legal Technology that will improve trust and fairness, as well as transform the way people use the law to interact with each other.


WikiRealty is the first online town square where people gather to share local knowledge about both residential and commercial real estate opportunities. Its mobile and web platform makes it easy for professionals and consumers to share local insight on the go. WikiRealty® is fast becoming an indispensable, crowd-powered guide to helping everyone make smarter decisions about where to live and work.

Check out our sponsorship package


Check out last year's Code the Deal: