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a movement to make the law
more accessible, more usable, and more engaging.
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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!

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An R&D lab for legal services at Stanford Law School and d.school.

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Our Latest Posts
16/08

Legal Research primer as a coloring book

CALI has published a coloring book authored by three librarians, Elizabeth Gotauco, Nicole Dyszlewski, and Raquel M. Ortiz, that gives an introductory primer on how to do legal research. Along with essential information, it also provides line drawings for the reader to color in. The PDF version of the book is free online, so you

18/07

How can we visualize and compare legal policies? Two models from ‘usable privacy policy’ work

One of the student fellows at Legal Design Lab has been encoding a whole range of similar legal policies, tagging up which sections of different institutions’ policy documents belong in the same category. This allows for a more comprehensive analysis of the policies, as well as comparisons across documents. The question is, how to take

12/07

Social innovation with law schools as a driver

The dean of Osgoode Law School in Toronto, Lorne Sossin, has an interesting new post out about the new roles of law schools in developing problem-solvers and social change. He sees the rise of the new labs, courses, and professional tracks in law schools that focus on innovation and technology as a promise for law

12/07

Sparking 2 kinds of ‘Originals’ in legal innovation

I’ve been reading Wharton professor Adam Grant’s recent book Originals, that documents how new ideas and products emerge out of staid industries and bureaucracies. There’s a central point that he makes which links straight back to design thinking: The systems we live in need questioning — they need people to ask “Why, Why, Why, Why?” They need

06/07

The Bots Are Coming! (to legal services…)

Last week, it was great to see a short article making the rounds about a new chat-bot legal service coded and launched by a Stanford undergrad student, Joshua Browder. It’s DoNotPay, a bot that asks the user questions and figures out if they can get out of parking tickets or compensated for another ‘service gone

30/06

What would an effective, useful Legal Health Checkup look like?

I have been in different working groups and conferences over the past year, all focused on access to justice innovation, and we keep coming back to one new product idea: the Legal Health Checkup. This seems to emerge out of the research finding (from Becky Sandefur primarily) that people don’t even realize they need to

28/06

Do Lawyers want bad visual design?

I attended a design talk where startup and tech companies’ designers were sharing notes about what they’ve learned about what kinds of visual and interaction design best connect with users. One of the designers mentioned that you have to sometimes throw out the “core principles of good design” for certain audiences. He was talking about

13/06

What would a good online legal help resource look like?

If we were to build a 2016 tool to help people, searching online for help with a life problem (that we know has a possible legal solution/redress), what would that look like? What are some of the key features and heuristics we can use to define what this next-generation type of tool should be? (Hint:

05/05

Lessons from Personal Finance Design for Legal Design

Last week I went to an evening talk at Intuit, hearing from a collection of designers, technologists, and strategists working to make personal finance more engaging for laypeople. The panel was moderated by Leslie Witt (Design director of Intuit Small Businesses.), and had 4 thoughtful speakers: Mike Tschudy (head of design, Mint.com), Ben Knelman (CEO

05/05

Law schools as innovation hubs – the Global Legal Technology Lab

Today I had the pleasure of attending an exploratory meeting for a new initiative — the Global Legal Technology Lab. It’s a network of law schools, legal technology companies, and other organizations interested in pushing forward new innovations in the legal system — particularly around access to justice. It grew out of meetings at University

25/04

Hack for Justice event – legal design and the criminal justice system

In early May, the Legal Design Lab is co-hosting a one day design sprint, with the California Attorney General’s office. The AG is focused on making it easier for normal people to understand how the criminal justice system works, and also to use the power of data to help researchers, journalists, and the public better

25/04

White House Access to Justice forum

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice. It was a gathering of lawyers, judges, law clinic leaders, business-people, and politicians to talk about both the pressing needs for greater legal services (and innovations in how we pursue getting more legal services to more people), and

12/04

Interaction Designers on Making the Law Design-Friendly

Thanks to Kursat Ozenc for this link to a 15 minute video from designer Daniel Orbach, called Design, The Law, and You. Daniel Orbach – Design, the Law, and You from Interaction Design Association on Vimeo. It’s from an Interaction Design conference that happened in March in Finland. Here’s the abstract of the video: As

04/04

The IRS’ Tax Design Challenge: Rethinking the (miserable) UX of paying your taxes

I realize that I am outing myself as a full-on dork with this post, but I am unreasonably excited by coming across the IRS’ Tax Design Challenge — an open call for new ideas about to how make the taxpayer’s experience less horrible. (Thanks to tax lawyer Michael Gould in DC for flagging this to

01/04

Design for Bureaucracies: envisioning user-centered medical-legal-health care

Earlier this week I found myself at lunch with an expert in sustainable finance, another expert on healthcare and patient engagement, and a user experience designer. Then there’s me — a lawyer and designer working on redesigning the legal system. We didn’t know exactly how we were all connected — just that each of our guts said that we

29/03

How can we visually represent legal arguments and rules?

During my February trip to Italy to talk about legal technology and improving the usability of courts, one of the points that got raised several times was: “How can we make effective visuals, that let both lay people and legal professionals easily understand: how the legal system and its procedures work how competing legal arguments

28/03

Visual design and access to Justice technology at the ABA Tech Show

Last week I presented at two different panels last week I presented at 2 different panels at the ABA TechShow in Chicago. It was a great chance to meet more lawyers and thought leaders around the future of the legal profession in the US. The first panel I presented that was called Graphic design 101

25/03

CourtHack in Salt Lake City with the National Center for State Courts

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to be a judge at the CourtHack hackathon in Salt Lake City, sponsored by the National Center for State Courts. The event brought a whole room full of technologists and lawyers together, and set them working for about 24 hours on problems around court user experience, data, and