Grassroots Web 2.0 Meetup

by Anil Makhijani on May 3, 2008

I went to a Grassroots Web 2.0 meeting at the New York Civil Liberties Union a few days ago.  At the meeting I met a law professor from Brooklyn Law School.  After the meeting I intercepted him at the door and pitched my idea to him.  He promised to talk to some of the legal clinics at Brooklyn Law School about my idea.

After some back and forth between the professor and the Director of Clinical Education at Brooklyn Law School, the professor came back to me and asked:

I am trying to figure out what we might be able to do to advance your efforts.  I can’t figure out the hook yet.

I had to think about this for a second.  What did I want from Brooklyn Law School?  This is how I responded to the email:

Eventually I want to make a website where all Lawyers and all underprivileged clients in the country can meet and help each other.  However, I think that the first step is to make a website that is useful for a small clinic.  Ideally the website will act as database where the clinic can store and search for information about their clients and lawyers.  Once we load this information into the database, we can implement a scheduling system to help the clinic more efficiently allocate its resources.  I think if we can do this successfully, we can generalize the website to serve the broader community.

So what would I want from Brooklyn Law?  I would like a chance to checkout what technology solution they are currently using to manage their lawyer (students and professionals) and client databases.  Hopefully, after analyzing the current solution, I will be able to create a web-based solution that can better serve this purpose.  Eventually, I hope to make this solution general enough so that the website can serve a more general audience.

I strongly believe that this is the best way to make software.  Find a small client who is in the industry, make a product that works for them, and then try to generalize the product so it can benefit a wider audience.

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