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a movement to make the law
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Our Latest Posts

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Information Persona to understand your target audience

Particularly for legal design, I find it very useful to do a special kind of ‘persona document’ for the audience you are trying to engage. This persona should all be about information preferences. How does your person like to consume info? Tech channels or not — and for which kinds of info? What style of


Branding access to justice

I was going back through my notebook from conferences I’ve been at for the past few months. One of the themes I was sketching out was about branding legal aid. How we can make access to justice and improving the legal system something that more people than just lawyers care about? Here are some of


Bringing XML machine-readability into Courts

I was lucky enough to go to Milan, Italy last month and participate in a judicial training there, where the topic was the potential of bringing technology into the legal system. One of the biggest initiatives being discussed was making legal documents and cases more machine-readable, interoperable, and ‘usable’ to court professionals and systems. Here


Design Process: go to the frustration

A notebook sketch I made for a class presentation on going from user research to brainstorming. The in-between step: scouting the frustrations — where your stakeholders and target audience are going nuts, hacking half-baked solutions, feeling exhausted and hating the current system. Those frustration points are opportunities. Because if you frame your new interventions as


Prof. Jay Mitchell on Visual Design For Lawyers

This afternoon, I had the privilege of hearing Professor Jay Mitchell of Stanford University (and director of the Transactions Clinic at the Law School) speak about the value of graphic design and sketching practices for lawyers. Jay has a book, Picturing Corporate Practice, coming out at the end of February, that brings a design approach


Canadian Bar Association report: Futures for young lawyers

The Canadian Bar Association has published a new report, Do law differently: Futures for Young Lawyers. It dives into the big questions facing people with new JDs and an uncertain legal industry. With profiles of many lawyers who are taking new career tracks and building unique portfolios of work, the report lays out new opportunities


California AG Kamala Harris on usable privacy

Yesterday, I attended the Stanford Cyber Initiative’s event with California Attorney General Kamala Harris. It was about the AG’s office release of the 2015 Data Breach report. Much of the talk resonated with legal design: how to make privacy policies and other legal rules and terms around data privacy more accessible to lay users. Here


Rapid prototyping on-site for access to justice designs

As I plan out what I might teach next quarter, I’m increasingly decided against having another classroom-based design class. I want to be in the field, where the users and service-providers of the legal system are, and where we can quickly spot failpoints and opportunities, create new interventions, test them, and improve from them. I


Making sense of the legal system by drawing it (e.g., Turkish internet laws)

I found some old sketchbooks of mine, that I had on my internship desk between my 1L and 2L summer. I was working at a law firm in Istanbul, trying to understand the intricacies of Internet and free speech laws and all the competing interests in Turkey of 2011 (it has only gotten more complicated


Core principles for good design in online legal services

I jotted down this small shortlist during a recent conference, when I was sifting through all of the points that I have been making in different venues, for different audiences, drawing from different research projects and design work. This isn’t meant to be totally complete, but it’s not half-bad as some core metrics and to-do’s