Applications are now closed. Follow us on Twitter (@RyersonLIZ) for updates.


A Call for Startups using Artificial Intelligence in their Innovative Legal Tech Solutions

The AI Legal Challenge was a competition supported by the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General to help drive the use of artificial intelligence in the creation of legal technology solutions.  The winners of the Challenge had the opportunity to compete for a total of $80,000 in seed funding, moved into the Legal Innovation Zone for 4 months and gained access to top mentors and advisors.  Ontario is a leading jurisdiction when it comes to artificial intelligence and has become a hub for the development and use of legal technology in the delivery and access to legal services.

There has long been a need for faster, simpler and more affordable solutions for the consumers of legal services.  Whether you are a law firm, corporation or individual, all consumers of law are beginning to realize that legal services often haven’t kept up with the innovations that are happening around us.  At the same time Artificial Intelligence and its capabilities have quickly gone from the hypothetical to reality, opening up endless opportunities with transformative powers to change the way we go about our daily lives. The AI Legal Challenge seeks to unleash the creative potential of innovators able to use AI technology to help improve legal services for Ontarians, whether they be individuals or businesses.

The AI Legal Challenge fuelled the success of six innovative startups that are building products and solutions using artificial intelligence for consumers of legal services.


The AI Legal Challenge is a competition that helped foster the growth and success of startups that are developing products, technologies and processes, and solutions that have a direct positive impact on improving legal services for consumers.
Successful applicants were incubated at the Legal Innovation Zone – Canada’s first legal tech incubator – and gained access to mentors, advisors, and technology experts, as well as the workspace and programming needed to drive their business forward. They had an opportunity to receive seed money of up to $80,000 to grow their company into a successful enterprise that has a significant impact through their cutting edge technology.

The Ministry of the Attorney General

The Ministry of the Attorney General is responsible for providing a fair and accessible justice system that reflects the needs of the diverse communities it serves across government and the province. It strives to manage the justice system in an equitable, affordable, and accessible way throughout the province.

The Legal Innovation Zone at Ryerson University

The Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ) is a co-working space and the first legal tech incubator with a focus on building better legal solutions for the consumers of legal services.

Based on the model of the DMZ — ranked the leading university-based incubator in North America and third in the world by UBI Global — The Legal Innovation Zone helps support, foster and develop solutions and technologies that aim to improve the justice system and legal services.


Six startups were selected and awarded access to the Legal Innovation Zone for a four-month residency and customized programming, that begin December 1st, 2017. At the end of four months, the startups participated in a “Demo Day” event that happened on March 31st, 2018, where three of the six startups were selected and awarded seed money of $40,000, $25,000, and $15,000 for 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place, respectively. Each of these startups were also invited to stay in the Legal Innovation Zone for an additional four months.

As part of their residency, Legal Innovation Zone startups received:

  • A four-month customized program focused on making productive business connections to prospective clients, partners, sector experts, and investors
  • Dedicated workspace and resources
  • Mentorship and coaching from mentors, advisors, and technology experts
  • Special recognition provided by the Legal Innovation Zone through their extensive network


To apply to the AI Legal Challenge, individuals or startups must:

  1. All members of the team are legal residents of Canada (excluding Quebec)
  2. Have a creative solution using artificial intelligence as a key component that contributes to better legal services for consumers whether they be corporations or individuals
  3. Meet the standard membership requirements for members in the LIZ

For complete rules on eligibility, please read the challenge rules


The deadline to apply was on Friday, November 10, 2017 at 11:59pm Eastern Daylight Time.

On or about November 22nd, 2017, 10 finalists were chosen and invited to pitch to the judging panel, comprised of industry experts and the program sponsors. The panel selected six winning startups to participate in the four-month program. Successful applicants were notified on or about November 28th, 2017.

For complete details on the application process, please read the challenge rules


What does LIZ mean by “artificial intelligence”?

Artificial Intelligence is difficult to define and is ever changing, however the following can be used as a definition for “artificial intelligence”:

Artificial intelligence (“AI”) is a computer that learns to perform intelligent tasks we usually think only humans can do. We’re expecting a computer to complete human tasks.

This can be broken into four AI categories: Machine learning, natural language processing, vision and speech.

Machine learning describes a system that can take data points, process them to improve performance at completing a task, and then loop that process to continue doing the task while continuously improving.
Natural language processing is when a computer can understand human language. The computer can interpret what a human actually means — deciphering intent and therefore providing more accurate and relevant answers and search results.
Vision is the computer having the ability to interpret images, identify them and describe them, which is a task humans perform automatically.
Speech is a system like Siri that can speak and interpret oral language, so you can have a back and-forth interaction.

**This explanation was provided by Andrew Arruda, CEO & Co-Founder of Ross Intelligence – for more details click here
Further descriptions can be found here

What time commitment is expected if I apply to the Challenge?

Prior to your pitch to the judging panel, you need only spend as much time preparing as you believe necessary to develop your best possible pitch. If you are selected as one of the six winning startups, you must relocate to Toronto for a four-month incubation period at the LIZ between December 1, 2017 to March 31, 2017.

Does the LIZ provide accommodation if I need to move?

The LIZ provides up to two desk spaces for your startup in the LIZ offices. Any other travel, relocation, or accommodation expenses must be covered by the startup.

How far along does my idea need to be?

Your startup can be in any stage of the development cycle. LIZ encourages your application to the challenge regardless of whether it is an idea or a fully-formed business.

Can I apply more than once?

Unfortunately, there is a limit of one challenge entry per entrant.

Do I need to live in Ontario to participate in the challenge?

A majority of the members of the startup must be legal residents of Canada (excluding Quebec). For example, on a team of three, two of the members must be legal residents of Canada (Excluding Quebec). see Challenge Rules for details

Does the Legal Innovation Zone provide funding to challenge entrants?

The LIZ will not provide funding to challenge entrants. The six startups selected for incubation at the LIZ will have the opportunity to be awarded seed money of up to $80,000. LIZ will provide customized programming, mentorship opportunities, business connections, and other startup resources that may be required.

Can I continue working with the Legal Innovation Zone after my 4 months is over?

The three startups who are awarded seed money will be invited to stay in the LIZ for an additional four months. Startups not chosen are encouraged to apply to the Legal Innovation Zone through the application process on our website at  


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