Professors Tanina Rostain and Victoria Nourse organized the third “Iron Tech Lawyer” competition, which encourages students to develop legal tech apps.
This semester’s award for the “Best Iron Tech Lawyer” went to the team with the MIDAS touch — the Military Impact of Discharge Assessment System touch, that is. Created by three Technology, Innovation, and Law Practice practicum students — Lindsey Bohl (L’14), Kyle George (L’14) and Thomas Orsak (L’14) — the “MIDAS” application (or app) aims to help adjudicators at the Department of Veterans Affairs determine whether a service member is eligible for VA benefits.
The students worked with a U.S. Army judge advocate to address the issue of eligibility, which affects more than 22 million veterans and their dependents. “We have roughly calculated there are about 300 million possible permutations … that our app can put out,” Orsak said.
The award for Best Design went to a California Foreclosure Advisor application designed by Shahzadi Ahmed (L’14), Angela Omiyi (L’14), Michael Milea (L’15) and Johnny Wong (L’16). An Affordable Care Act Advisor, created by Amanda Krause (L’14), William Morrison (L’14), Gerald Leverich (L’14) and Jessica Nyman (L’14), took Honorable Mention.
The students presented their apps in Hart Auditorium on December 4. It was the third Iron Tech Lawyer competition and the first to concentrate on apps for administrative and regulatory agencies.
“All the apps that you are going to hear about are about getting benefits that are available through administrative agencies or [working] inside the regulatory agencies, making the work more efficient,” said Professor Tanina Rostain, who taught the class along with Professor Victoria Nourse.
And an app to help figure out Obamacare won honorable mention:
Four Georgetown law students developed a jargon-free app for Americans curious about the new health insurance options but not interested in the online federal exchange’s wait times. “The Short and Happy Guide to Health Care Coverage” lets consumers see whether HealthCare.gov is for them.
“The great thing about the app is that you can input specific information about yourself, and after you get to the end of the program, it spits out a specific personalized report which you can email to yourself,” said Will Morrison, one of the students involved in the project.
The students—Morrison, Gerald Leverich, Amanda Krause, and Jessica Nyman—said they embarked on the project before HealthCare.gov‘s failed launch. They used the lessons from the federal exchange website to shape their own work, making basic information about the law and who qualifies a priority after they learned that consumers often couldn’t get far enough in the application to find out.
“Sifting through the law and pulling out all the relevant information was the hardest part of the project,” Krause said.
In addition to determining whether a person qualifies for Medicaid and should apply through their state, or qualifies for tax credits and should apply for health insurance on HealthCare.gov, the app will calculate the penalty if you decide to opt out of health insurance.
It is remarkable, and wonderful that law students are learning the skills need to develop these programs. I visited Rostain’s class last year, and I was very impressed by the topics they are coveirng. Kudos to everyone at Georgetown!