Ithaca is a not-for-profit web app connecting refugees with lawyers, based on need and experience, while also providing a platform for document and legal information storage. The app was developed by three students: Joshua Ajamu, Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany; James Dong, University of Sydney Law School in Australia; and Joseph May, University of London Faculty of Laws in England.
Justin North, director of Janders Dean, a leading legal industry management consultancy, mentored and sponsored the Ithaca team.
"The Ithaca team has developed a way in which lawyers who have capacity and capabilities can be connected to refugees around the world who need help with their asylum cases," North said. "If governments won’t help in fear of losing a vote, then the people must step up. Countries such as the United States and Australia have a horrific record of using the law to punish refugees in recent times, and yet the legal industry has always been one of the first to push back and protect those in need.”
Fuse, which launched this month, is a tech innovation space at A&O aimed at accelerating practical solutions to legal, regulation and deal challenges. Ithaca was one of only eight businesses invited to join the accelerator, out of 80 applications. The incubator is designed to house 60 entrepreneurs eventually.
"The selection process has been an extremely interesting and rewarding experience," Jonathan Brayne, chairman of Fuse at Allen & Overy, said. "We’re just really looking forward to welcoming the companies into the space next month, introducing people from A&O and our clients’ businesses to it and, ultimately, helping shape what emerges from the Fuse environment."
In its eighth year, LawWithoutWalls, the collaborative course and academic model, brings together students, faculty, practitioners, and entrepreneurs from around the globe to explore innovation in legal education and practice.
"The Ithaca team exemplifies the multicultural, multidisciplinary nature of LawWithoutWalls, collaborating across five time zones, three continents, and a multitude of experiences,” said Erika Concetta Pagano, associate director of LWOW and lecturer in law at the University of Miami.
“The team's students, from Germany, Australia, and the UK, worked alongside a team of professionals to bring their Project of Worth to life, including Justin North, Moray McLaren from Redstone Consultants, Zack Knechtel from the United Nations Development Program, and Liz Rieser-Murphy, J.D. `12 and LWOW alumna, from The Legal Aid Society in New York."
LawWithoutWalls will enter its eighth cycle in January 2018, with a two-day Kickoff at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, one of its key partner schools. Nearly 200 lawyers, entrepreneurs, business professionals, students, and academics from around the world will participate. Additionally, LWOW X, the all-virtual offering from LawWithoutWalls, sponsored by the Ferraro Law Firm and dedicated exclusively to social justice entrepreneurship, will begin its fifth cycle in January.
"We call all of the teams' endeavors ‘Projects of Worth’ because of the skills each team member hones through the process of creation,” said Michele DeStefano, founder and director of LawWithoutWalls and professor of law at the University of Miami. “Projects like this one, however, that also bring value to others are the most rewarding of all."