Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I grew up with a father in the IT business. I remember learning to code in BASIC on a Commodore 64 and an Apple II in elementary school. While I have never taken any formal computer science classes, I have taught myself enough about coding to work on a few side projects related to the practice of law.

One of my recent projects was to actually create a website that calculates the amount of food stamps a person is entitled to. The easiest part of this project was reading the Ohio Revised Code and Administrative Code and learning the rules for counting income, deductions, and the various tests. It was breaking those rules down into manageable chunks that could be understood by a web browser, which is not so different from explaining it to a lay person.

In doing this project, I learned all of the ins and outs of the food stamp program, and I now have a much better grasp of the rules surrounding it. In addition, our program now has a useful tool in the form of a website that will help us determine whether our clients' food stamps are being properly determined.

I would encourage everyone to look for areas of the law that lend themselves to being coded and to give it a try, particularly if it is your area of specialty. Doing so will give you a deeper appreciation for the law's nuances and help you see the law at both the micro and macro level.

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