Over the weekend of November 13-15, 2015, the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research and Vermont Law School will team up with the Vermont General Assembly to hold a first-of-its-kind “Legithon” at the Vermont State House. Drawing on models from events like Hackathons and the Startup Weekend, the Legithon will bring together students, along with emerging and established professionals and tech business people, for an exciting weekend of work and learning. The goal is to educate the public on legislative processes by developing model proposals for policy and legislative action. The target for this action will be: “law changes that will foster economic development, particularly development involving innovative technology, but which will not require significant public expenditure or subsidy, and which will respect the general good of society.”
The sessions will start with the whole group assembled on Friday in the early evening. During the full session, they will be welcomed, will be briefed on the approach, will develop proposals and will establish working teams. The participants will then break out into smaller working groups. With the assistance of experienced coaches, including members of the legislature and other policy professionals, they will work into that evening and through Saturday to develop the policy rational and the legislative proposals. The participants will re-assemble to present their work product to the group as a whole, with the target of Sunday, mid-day, although an earlier time is possible. The requested deliverables on each proposal will consist of (i) a well-developed statement of the opportunity and the policy considerations around it and (ii) possible language for model law.
The event will be centered in the Vermont State House, with plenary portions to be held in the House Chamber and the breakout sessions in committee rooms and other meeting spaces around the building. Several meals will be offered in the State House cafeteria. (See
for further information on the State House and the Legislature.) Because the State House will close around 6 pm on Saturday, the event will provide another venue in Montpelier in close proximity to the State House for work into Saturday evening.
Lodging, transportation and meals are not provided at the State House (in particular Saturday dinner) will be the responsibility of participants to arrange and pay for.
After the event, results will be publicized through the event’s web-presence and other channels. The sponsors will also develop a “how-to” manual that can act as a design tool for further iterations of Legithon events.
Organizers and Sponsors
The Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research
is an independent, non-partisan “think tank” headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley. It seeks to use knowledge drawn from the science of human behavior to inform our response to the challenges and opportunities facing law and other institutions.
Vermont Law School
is the nation’s premier environmental law school with a focus on law as a source of productive solutions. Its Center for Legal Innovation has a growing reputation for leadership at the intersection of law, technology, and innovation.
The Vermont General Assembly
has a history of innovative approaches and an attention to public education that goes back to its founding in 1778. The Legislature’s home is the Vermont State House, one of the oldest and best preserved of our nation's state capitols.
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
, located in Kansas City, Missouri, supports educational initiatives to develop innovative, research-based programs leading to practical, sustainable solutions that can be widely accepted and implemented.