Visual Law

Law can be made more comprehensible if it is made more visual.

This means illustrating cases — putting the human situations back into the legal opinions — creating flowcharts out of rules — and thinking about how we can convert complicated text into clear, digestible, graphic presentations.

Is A Burrito A Sandwich - razblint

I have also been putting together flow charts for clearer conceptions of legal rules — that are not put forward only as text or outlines, but as visual journeys of decisions. I find them useful for studying & responding to test questions.

Law - can federal agency get my info

Here are some examples of law school flowcharts and illustrations I have been working on:

ODR - Small Claims Mediation Task Flow - three stages Tax Flow Employee Discounts 2013-02-16 (12.38.14-285 AM) Tax Flow Illustrated - Employee gets free services - razblint Razblint - Law School Sketchbook - Torts - FLow Chart - Alcohol and Duty - color

Examples of Visual Law
09/16/2014

Law on Display: visuals & legal persuasion

Law professors Neal Feigenson and Christina Spiesel published the book Law on Display in 2011. They make the argument that visuals are becoming increasingly powerful in legal courtrooms: to frame issues, to persuade jurors, to convey scientific evidence with greater force, and to change how advocates represent clients. Aside from the book, they also maintain

08/28/2014

Law Comics: Bound By Law: the “Understanding Comics” of copyright

Here’s another example of visual explanations of law.  Here it is the 2008 book Bound by Law?: Tales from the Public Domain, with Intellectual Property Law visualized in comic book format, from Duke University Press, authored by Keith Aioki, James Boyle, and Jennifer Jenkins.  You can buy it here on Amazon. via Bound By Law: the

08/18/2014

Legal Futures infographic for the Canadian Bar Association

Here is a visual I made for the Canadian Bar Association, to illustrate the main takeaways of their new Legal Futures report. And then a version in French as well. It was great to have a small part in the report — it’s full of great insights about the near-future for the legal market &

08/04/2014

Law Comics: Alice in Patentland

Law Comics is a Tumblr blog that features a handful of illustrated explainers of law — to start with, patents. These first comics are authored by Julia Powles & illustrated by Ilias Kyriazis. Their description of the general project: Law Comics is a project steered by non-boring lawyers to render iconic legal cases in full-colour

07/16/2014

Parking Sign Design

I was excited to see a concept design for a Parking Sign featured in Wired Magazine– that would communicate a legal warning/penalty quite clearly to the people who are living under the regulation. It links back into the d.school class Get Smart, on good legal communication design, that I taught this past Spring at Stanford.

07/14/2014

Lawtoons & Visualizing Rights in India

Kanan Dhru of the Research Foundation for Governance: in India (RFGI) think tank reached out to me, sharing her Lawtoons project — as well as a more general initiative to bring legal innovation into Indian legal education & court rooms. Lawtoons is currently being crowdfunded, to create visualizations of law for young people.  It is

05/22/2014

Graphic Legal Intake form

Here’s a visual for non-lawyers to enter information for a professional to later use in their legal case, and also to understand if they are eligible for DACA. It is a product of the North Carolina Immigrant Rights Project. Related posts: Pocket DACA Legal Visual Mnemonics: Breaches of Contracts The Good Notice Project: complex legal

05/16/2014

Complex Visual Design tools

Here is a handout I made for my communication design students, about different visual structures they can use to communicate complex information. I made it particularly for lawyers, as part of my legal design toolbox. Related posts: The Good Notice Project: complex legal information design Legal Visual Mnemonics: Breaches of Contracts The Program for Legal

04/28/2014

The Good Notice Project: complex legal information design

For the Get Smart class I’m teaching at Stanford d.school, about information design for legal & financial notices, I’ve put together The Good Notice Project. I’m collecting examples of how notice is given — whether through signs, text, or more visceral experiences. The site’s collection of examples will be useful to the students in the

03/03/2014

Visual Law Library

Through the Program for Legal Tech & Design, I’ve launched a new project — The Visual Law Library. We started populating the site with drawings, charts, cartoons, graphs, timelines, videos, and other media that can make specific parts of the law easier to understand. Our goal is to build a usable & beautiful collection of

01/23/2014

Law Visual: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

A quick illustration of a tort! Related posts: Lexpert & Visual Law How Laws Are Made, a visual Ravel Law, visual legal research Legal Visual: Defenses Legal Visual Mnemonics: Breaches of Contracts

12/17/2013

Legal Claim Maps

At the request of my sister, I have been tinkering with simple diagram templates for law students, lawyers & clerks to structure their legal analysis, and anchor a writing they have to make, evaluating parties claims in light of the law. My first go is a Legal Claim Map — just a simple table template. 

12/11/2013

On Beauty & Law

Related posts: No related posts.

12/08/2013

Legal Visual Mnemonics: Breaches of Contracts

This is a new concept I’m playing around with, in the area of Legal Visualizations: Legal Visual Mnemonics. I see all these memorization tools for legal rules with concepts converted into letters, then packaged into words, and finally packaged up into memorable phrases. What if an image could be part of this packaging of the

11/21/2013

Immigration Storyline Infographics

For part of the Fwd.us DREAMer Hackathon the past 2 days in Mountain View, I started prototyping some uber-simple infograhpics of (often crazy) immigration narratives. I wanted to show the amount of time waiting, the amount of time in limbo, and the failpoints. Even if you come in legally, happily, optimistically, you can end up

10/26/2013

Legal Design Jam: a sketchnote

This originally went up at the Stanford d.school’s Whiteboard site, now reposted here: If you are interested in hosting your own Legal Design Jam — getting people together to work on how to redesign the look and interactions of a legal document — reach out to Stefania at stefania.passera (at) aalto.fi Related posts: Legal Design

10/09/2013

Bar Study Visuals

Brendan Conley alerted me to a small library of visuals he has built up since he studied for the Bar a few years ago. He has made flowcharts & diagrams to help other students get to the heart of the Bar exam topics more quickly & visually. For example, here is one diagram he made

10/04/2013

Legal Design Jam, Part 2

We’ve had OVERWHELMING response to our Legal Design Jam outreach for next Friday at Stanford’s d.school. So we are adding on a Day 2, on October 12th, from 12-6pm — this time up in San Francisco at The Embassy Network. RSVP here, it’s open to all kinds of people interested in building better, more visual

09/24/2013

Tech Tips for Legals

Here’s a short, unnarrated overview of legal tech tools from Legal Services NTAP that lawyers & others could use to organize their projects, do better research, work on the road, take notes, use visuals, create media, analyze data, and use all the tech they already have in better ways. 50 Tech Tips 2013 EJC from

09/22/2013

Drawn Flowchart: State Law in Conflict

Another legal flowchart/mindmap — this time for situations when states have made laws that are in conflict with other laws. I sketched it out while studying for the Bar. Have fun! Related posts: Evidence Law Flowchart: Admissible? Evidence Flowchart: Hearsay? Hand Drawn Tech Law Law Flowcharts (Hearsay Exceptions) Lawbore: Drawn Law Resources Legal Flowchart: Understand

09/20/2013

Legal Design Jam at Stanford

Will you be in the Bay Area on Friday October 11th? Do you want to come redesign a legal document — make it lively, graphic, & visual? Apply to join our Legal Design Jam at Stanford’s design school! The formal invitation is here, a PDF you are welcome to redistribute. And apply here with this

09/11/2013

Legal Visual: Defenses

I drew this while studying for the Bar, to help remember possible defenses. Hope it can help you too! Related posts: Legal Visual Mnemonics: Breaches of Contracts Lexpert & Visual Law Ravel Law, visual legal research On legal flow charts… Reinvent Law visual: Legal by Design On Better Legal Presentations The Challenge of Good Legal

08/20/2013

More Good Tax Form Design

It seems lots of User Experience & Information designers have tried to tackle tax forms.  These are all hypothetical versions (it seems the IRS is massively against any new updates).  They are inspiring in how they simplify complexities and simply look more beautiful. Considering all of these examples, I would love to see a ‘Skins’

08/20/2013

Redesigning a 1040

In 2004, Karen Schriver, a designer and professor, took on a Milwaukee journalist’s challenge to make the 1040 IRS tax form more user-friendly.  She tackled the redesign with information design principles, using composition and visual tools, to guide the user through.  Unfortunately, the link to her redesign is broken — but her writing about the

07/18/2013

The Challenge of Good Legal Information Design

I’ve been tunnel-vision studying for the California Bar, and in the process, I’ve been trying to hunt down graphics & visuals that will give me a break from text-madness of Bar Prep. I have chanced across one-pagers like this on California Community Property. This is a one-page headache.  Or heart attack? This is what is

06/26/2013

What does good notice look like?

I am collecting examples of how Notice is given to people in public, to comply with legal requirements to provide them warnings, information, and notification that something is happening to them. Related posts: The Good Notice Project: complex legal information design Privacy By Design Checklist Good Design of Privacy Notices CUPS: Making Policy Public Consumer

06/24/2013

Illustrated Evidence: Hearsay & 6th Amendment

Related posts: Evidence Flowchart: Hearsay? Evidence Law Flowchart: Admissible? Law Flowcharts (Hearsay Exceptions) Illustrated Guide for Immigrant Youth Hearsay Exceptions, the video Illustrated Lawyering Does US surveillance of Muslims violate the 1st Amendment?

06/16/2013

Evidence Law Flowchart: Admissible?

As requested by a visitor, another evidence flowchart — this time a more general Checklist as a Flowchart. Related posts: Evidence Flowchart: Hearsay? Law Flowcharts (Hearsay Exceptions) Legal Health Checklist Legal Flowchart: Understand Immigration!

05/31/2013

Typography for Lawyers

I’ve been enjoying the site Typography for Lawyers from Matthew Butterick. He makes some effective arguments as to why Typography is more than just font choice — why it is a design choice that will affect how a lawyer’s audience will react to the text itself. Why does typography matter? Typog­ra­phy mat­ters because it helps

05/20/2013

Good Design of Privacy Notices

I dug up a report that the FTC had published a few years back on how they have evolved good information design for financial institutions to give privacy & legal notices to their lay customers. The document is a rich set of patterns, examples, and procedural insights into how to design legal (and law-relevant, rights-relevant)

05/14/2013

Legal Jacket concept

A quick sketch of a concept for wearable law… Of course fictional now, but only slightly tongue-in-cheek… Related posts: Law School Improv concept design Legal Design Concept: How’s My Litigating? Legal Concept Design: A Bar-Taking Robot Legal Studies Law Map by Oxford University Concept designs for UNHCR redesigns Low Hanging Fruit for Legal Design Legal

03/29/2013

Lexpert & Visual Law

I got a note from Helena Haapio in Finland today — there is a group of legal professionals & others active with the organization Lexpert who are working to innovate on preventative and visual law. They are design-oriented & creative, trying to make law communicated more accessibly. Annika Varjonen provides the text below, and lively

03/27/2013

Evidence Flowchart: Hearsay?

Another flowchart that I made for my Evidence final last week, and just colored in… Related posts: Law Flowcharts (Hearsay Exceptions) Legal Flowchart: Understand Immigration!

03/20/2013

Law Flowcharts (Hearsay Exceptions)

Prints of this drawing available here for purchase! I am playing with different ways to study for my Finals. I decided to try out flowcharts. My hypothesis: the act of putting together a flowchart is itself one of the best ways to learn an area of law. Especially with a rule-based doctrinal class like Evidence,

03/12/2013

Ravel Law, visual legal research

Ravel Law (above, presenting at Reinvent Law in Silicon Valley last Friday) is a start-up that grew out of Stanford Law, that is building visual tools for legal research. Cases’ importance to an issue would make them larger or smaller, cites would be visual links, relationships would be color coded. Another great visual possibility would

03/07/2013

Immigration Law Comics

The Immigration Legal Resource Center in San Francisco provides comic book explanations of common immigration scams and how to avoid them. Related posts: Law Comics: Bound By Law: the “Understanding Comics” of copyright Legal Flowchart: Understand Immigration! Law Comics: Alice in Patentland Consumer Immigration Law Brainstorm Immigration Storyline Infographics Fwd.Us Immigration Hackathon: Immigration Visualization Project

01/10/2012

some Intellectual Property Basics, Terry Fisher at ILaw

some Intellectual Property Basics, Terry Fisher at ILaw Related posts: Legal Flowchart: Understand Immigration! The Challenge of Good Legal Information Design

12/01/2011

You Choose your ads on Unthink social network

A new social network has come out of Florida, with mom Natasha Dedis at its helm, to let users choose what ads are shown on their network, and to keep their information from being sold by the network to advertisers. From Andrew Couts at Digital Media: Unthink attempts to tackle the exploitation problem in a

11/08/2011

How to build privacy into a social network

Arvind Narayanan used the example of LiveJournal to scout out some features which could be built into social networks to allow greater control over sharing and privacy. First: Everyone But X. “This is an example of a whole class of access control primitives that make no sense from the traditional computer science security perspective. If

11/08/2011

Privacy Policy By Interface Design

How could a privacy policy not be a privacy policy (a legalistic document stored away at a siloed URL on a website) — but be woven into the user experience of a the site? Are there ways that interface design can do the work of the privacy policy — giving users a sense of what

10/20/2011

Legal Flowchart: Understand Immigration!

  A very instructive & fun cartoon flow chart on illegal immigration.  More legal information design, for clarity & playfulness!  From Terry Colon, published in Reason Magazine. Related posts: Evidence Flowchart: Hearsay? Making Immigration User-Friendly workshop report Fwd.Us Immigration Hackathon: Immigration Visualization Project Immigration Law Comics Consumer Immigration Law Brainstorm Immigration Storyline Infographics some Intellectual

10/20/2011

Visualizing California Government

California Common Sense is a new Palo Alto-based non-profit that is trying to gather together all of the data about the state’s government, and then process it into visualizations that are clear, interactive & revealing.  The basic mission: make the government more transparent, starting with California Related posts: Modest Means Incubator project in California Privacy

Know of any other good visuals?