Open Law Lab is a hub for Legal Design,
a movement to make the law
more accessible, more usable, and more engaging.
Areas of Legal Design

Legal Design Process

Visual Law

Access to Justice

Legal Ed & Practice

An ABA Journal Blawg 100 site


Open Law Lab was chosen as one of the top 100 legal sites by the ABA Journal in 2014. The list spotlights sites that speak to a legal audience. Come over to their site to see the other 99 sites — and to vote for Open Law Lab to be one of the favorites!

Our Legal Design Projects

Legal Design Initiative

Visual Law Library

Legal Design Toolbox

Legal Communication Design

What problems can we tackle with LEGAL DESIGN?

Get connected! Subscribe to our Law By Design listserv.

Do you want to come up with new ideas for legal ventures? Want to bring creativity & innovation into law? Then you need process -- find it here.

See all

Do you learn law better when it doesn't come in blocks of text? Here is our collection of visualized law -- maps, flowcharts, diagrams, tables, and more!

See all

Want to make law more accessible to more people? Here's our collection of great ideas, projects & research to design access to justice.

See all

Want to study better? Practice law better? There are ways to improve efficiency & the quality of experience.

See all

Play Law Dojo!

Apps to learn law smarter, faster, funnier! Made for law students, high school students, NPR listeners, and anyone else who wants to learn law through games.

Come play!

Our Latest Posts

How can we make our designs more viable?

This is also an old page from my sketchbook — it must have been from a session at the, and notes I took about how we can review our concept designs for more feasibility. I have been going back through all my old notes on the design process, and compiling them into a short


Law For Me visual legal explainers

I had written earlier on this site about Kanan Dhru’s excellent visual law project LawForMe in India, to democratize legal knowledge and education through straightforward, delightful visuals about the law. The LawForMe site is live and full of great visuals. Here is a peek: combining short text explanations, comically-tinged scenarios about legal problems, and colorful,


Co/Counsel: mapping the law systematically

Co/Counsel is a project to systematically map what the law is, and do it with a mix of experts and the crowds. It’s done by Kimball Parker, from the law firm Quinn Emmanuel. The only public-facing one right now is Patent Law, which is viewable either in column mode or in mind map. Related posts:


The legal system needs to be redesigned, by normal people for normal people

Today I had the pleasure of hearing LSC President Jim Sandman speak to a conference hall full of Legal Service Providers from Floria, at the Florida 2015 Legal Aid Summit. He reinforced one big message at the end: the civil legal system in the US is dysfunctional. We need to reform it, because access to


How law and medicine in the US share the same fundamental crisis

   Some insights from Ben Barton at the UCHastings Equal Access to Justice conference, about the convergence of the same massive problem in the US legal and medical systems. Related posts: Getting beyond Lawyers vs Non-lawyers Getting to 100% Access to Justice A new generation of legal aid lawyers What would you spend $10 million


Getting beyond Lawyers vs Non-lawyers

   A thought in the room, at the conference at UCHastings on equal access to justice. Justice Goodwin Liu made a comment along these lines, seconded by other speakers. Related posts: A new generation of legal aid lawyers Getting to 100% Access to Justice Access to justice, the problem Thinking macro on Access to Justice


Thinking macro on Access to Justice strategy 

   Darrell Steinberg speaking at UCHastings about how we in the access to justice movement can be more strategic, more impactful, and more politically savvy. Related posts: Is there a coherent Access to Justice Movement? What’s going wrong with the Access to Justice movement? What would you spend $10 million on for Access to Justice?


A new generation of legal aid lawyers

   Julia Wilson of OneJustice spoke at the UCHastings equal access to justice conference about the coming leadership shift in leadership of legal aid nonprofits. This can have big costs but also can be a great catalyst for more leadership training of lawyers who may be interested in executive tracks, and also to start reimagining


Getting to 100% Access to Justice

   A vision from the Judicial Council’s Bonnie Hough at the UCHastings conference on equal access to justice. Related posts: Getting beyond Lawyers vs Non-lawyers Thinking macro on Access to Justice strategy  What would you spend $10 million on for Access to Justice? A new generation of legal aid lawyers Regulation of Law & Access


Sealing Your Juvenile Record: 3 legal infographics

For Expunge Design Day this past weekend, when we led a participatory design session on what better expungement/sealing-record procedures & tools would be, I created these 3 infographics. They were to help me learn the basics of the (COMPLICATED!) California law, and to convey it to the young people, designers, and developers working at the


Simple at the front, Smart at the back: design for access to justice innovation

A colleague working on improving the legal system in New Zealand from a user-centered design perspective mentioned this phrase to me in a recent email: Simple at the Front, Smart at the Back. Now it’s my constant refrain. What does it mean? That when we build tools, guides, explainers, or anything else for laypeople to


Everyone is starting to get it: innovating access to justice

Here is a small sketch I made while listening to talks at the Legal Service Corporation’s 40th Anniversary celebration in downtown San Francisco last month. It was from Justice Jonathan Lippman, the Chief Judge of NY’s Court of Appeals. The conversation was about the growing momentum from courts and lawyers to invest in new ways


6 orders of legal design: how we can intervene in the legal system to improve it

I’ve been thinking systematically over the past few months, as I’ve been looking back over design work and initiatives going on in the world of legal innovation, and bringing design into law. Here’s one of the schematics I’ve created, to make sense of what I’ve been observing. These 6 Orders are the categories of interventions


OpenJustice: open data from the California Department of Justice

I was excited to discover the OpenJustice Initiative, a move from the California DOJ to make its data more open, and provide a basis for more usable tools, interfaces, and processes for people who interact with the DOJ. See it in action: State of California Department of Justice – OpenJustice OpenJustice is a transparency initiative


User-friendly legal services from British Columbia

Talking to Bonnie Hough of the California Judicial Council last week, she recommended checking out several great projects coming out of Canada — specifically British Columbia — for inspiration about how courts can be more user-friendly. Many of them are efforts of the Justice Education Society, which is a public-oriented organization that is developing new


Moving Legal Innovation from Waterfall to Agile

How can we develop new solutions in agile, responsive ways? So that if we see a problem or hear a user need — that we take action, try something in a lightweight way, small way — a hack, rather than a huge undertaking? This is the idea that is coming out of the world of


Court innovations at the Code for America Summit

I’m excited to be speaking at the Code For America Summit this week in Oakland — and trying to make the bridge between the robust & big-energy civic tech world, and the world of legal innovation. Very excited to see a small subset of people interested in making the government better (more accessible, more user-friendly,


My (sketched) vision of the future of accessible legal services

How can we help people on-ramp into the legal system in much easier & accessible ways? This is the solution that’s been growing in my mind (but still obviously a little rough) over the last few months. We need to invest in several layers at once: 1) The especially hard one: Building a central repository