Usable Court Systems

How could we build court systems that are more usable for the people who have filed suits — and who have to administer the services to these parties? There is no question our court systems are in crisis: overloaded, but incapable of delivering efficient or satisfactory outcomes.

Another branch of questions — How could we convert court filings and other legal documents into formats that could be easily processed into high quality databases?  If we could establish this strong, reliable foundation of data in law — then there would be a rich set of applications that could be constructed on top of it.

Posts on Court & Dispute Design
20/08

Workshop on the legal generational gap — and harnessing it for change

The generational gap and the drive for change in the legal profession This past weekend I was at the Canadian Bar Association annual conference, where the theme was building a better lawyer. My task was to run a workshop one morning with all of the attendees to explore how we might bridge the generational gap

06/08

Defining a library of legal design patterns

Over at the Legal Design Toolbox (that I have slowly been building out with materials that I’ve been finding, using, and recommending in my own work), I have been building out a small typography of patterns for legal design & development. These are patterns of visuals, of interfaces, and of tools that can be used

05/08

Better court websites for better court practices

Recently I was running a design workshop with several court administrators, including some who worked in it IT and others who oversaw more of the rule-making and administration of state courts. We ran through several exercises that scoped out ways to make their professional lives & work better — both for the litigants who use

04/08

What would a better legal brief look like?

What would a better legal brief look like? What would it be to submit writings for the judge’s consideration in ways that are more formally structured — so that these communications could: 1) be laid out systematically for the judge & her clerks (think in tables or side-by-side comparisons), 2) perhaps even made machine-readable (so

23/07

Visual Dashboards for better Court Case Management

What would a good management system look like, for courts to assess their workflows & performance? James McMillan, John Matthias, and Matt Kleiman of the National Center on State Courts has a proposition — to use dashboards with lots of visual power to create a better way to see what’s really going on in a

23/07

What does the Legal Office of the Future look like?

The SF design & architecture consultancy Gensler has published its findings about the future of working in the legal world — specifically what the Legal Office of the Future will be. Gensler’s legal office of the future showcases the design and technological elements that will encompass the legal office of the future in the decades

10/07

Code for America Tech Awards

Code for America has launched an awards program to recognize great tech-based projects going on in US government agencies. There are still a few days to submit your application, to be eligible for an award & participation in the Code for America conference this autumn in the Bay Area. The Code for America Technology Awards

16/06

What would fair online business-to-consumer contracting look like?

Two weeks ago I attended a few days of the Gruter Institute’s session on Law & Behavioral Sciences in Tahoe. I was quite excited to find Joshua Fairfield there, a law professor from Washington & Lee Law School, talking about exactly one of the problems that fascinates me (and that I’ll be working on next

15/06

Hacking culture in Legal Orgs

Last week I heard a presentation from the K-12 Lab at Stanford’s d.school, all about how they are bringing in modes & mindsets of Hacking into elementary schools in the Bay Area. Hacking, not in the sense of coding software or circumventing security walls, as in creating small, nimble interventions in their school to try

28/05

What would design-driven policy-making look like?

Some thoughts on a powerpoint from GWU Law Professor Susan Dudley. Related posts: CUPS: Making Policy Public Map of a design-driven innovation team Privacy Policy By Interface Design Design for Better Public Policy Cognitive Exoskeletons for Data-Enabled Decision-Making Assisted Legal Decision Making The No Asshole Rule & Legal Organization Design Making Immigration User-Friendly workshop report

27/05

Cognitive Exoskeletons for Data-Enabled Decision-Making

I am at the Gruter Institute, learning about innovation in different industries. Here’s an interesting thought from the world of AI: Can we help people deal w) complex decisions & data by building smart ‘cognitive exoskeletons’? They would sense data points, learn their persons’ behavior & preferences, and be a custom filter and decision-making companion

19/05

A call to Remix Legal Services with Process, Tech & People

Law firms need to be focused on Legal services as PROCESSES we can redesign, remix – these coreographies of service delivery. We can play with these new processes to change the tech, the staffing, the communications, etc. Related posts: Using legal tech for better law firm-client relationships How do people use the Internet for legal

19/05

The changing ways in which General Counsels respond to cost pressures

It’s changing, as Seyfarth’s Steve Poor shows in this excellent slide about different phases law depts. staff & buy legal services. Related posts: How can we change lawyers’ behavior? Design helps us to see problems in better ways Legal Design Essential: how to lay out text in better ways Next Generation Legal Services: a talk

19/05

Does “The Innovator’s Dilemma” Apply to the Legal Industry?

Ron Dolin, discussing his recent paper on Clayton Christensen’s “The Innovator’s Dilemma” and how it may or may not apply to the legal industry. Related posts: Ron Dolin: A Target List for Legal Innovators How could the legal profession cultivate innovators? #abafutures How can we improve regulation of the legal industry? #FutureLaw Legal innovation thoughts

19/05

Ron Dolin: New Values in the Legal Marketplace

How will corporate & consumer clients be shopping for legal services — what will they value & seek out? Related posts: Ron Dolin: A Target List for Legal Innovators Next Generation Legal Services: a talk at Stanford this Friday Project Legal Link for legal-social service coordination Ron Dolin: We Need to Break Down Barriers for

19/05

Ron Dolin: A Target List for Legal Innovators

A great slide from Ron Dolin, summing up some of the central problems to target in the legal industry. Related posts: Ron Dolin: New Values in the Legal Marketplace Does “The Innovator’s Dilemma” Apply to the Legal Industry? How could the legal profession cultivate innovators? #abafutures Ron Dolin: We Need to Break Down Barriers for

19/05

Ron Dolin: We Need to Break Down Barriers for Legal Innovation

From Stanford law school lunch talk today Related posts: Next Generation Legal Services: a talk at Stanford this Friday Ron Dolin: New Values in the Legal Marketplace Ron Dolin: A Target List for Legal Innovators How do we solve legal information challenges? 3 main approaches Legal innovation thoughts from Ron Dolan #abafutures Intro to Legal

04/05

Data as change-maker in legal services #abafutures

More thoughts  from this morning Related posts: Package up legal services with mobile tech #abafutures Workshop on the legal generational gap — and harnessing it for change How can we encourage innovative, relevant legal scholarship? #abafutures Legal Innovation Blue Sky Agenda #ABAFutures Legal innovation thoughts from Ron Dolan #abafutures How could the legal profession cultivate

03/05

Richard Susskind: legal system vs 21st. Century #abafutures

Susskind is presenting: Our legal system  is out dated We are not ready for the huge increase in computing power We need to embrace technology, from a customer’s perspective Related posts: Reinvent Law: Richard Susskind on tech & access to law Why is getting help for legal problems such a labyrinth? #abafutures Every state should

03/05

How could the legal profession cultivate innovators? #abafutures

A big question from Avvo’s Mark Britton. Related posts: Law schools need to be hubs of research about the profession #abafutures Ron Dolin: A Target List for Legal Innovators Legal innovation thoughts from Ron Dolan #abafutures Why aren’t all legal docs machine readable? #abafutures Data as change-maker in legal services #abafutures Richard Susskind: legal system

03/05

Why aren’t all legal docs machine readable? #abafutures

Related posts: Legal innovation thoughts from Ron Dolan #abafutures How could the legal profession cultivate innovators? #abafutures Data as change-maker in legal services #abafutures Richard Susskind: legal system vs 21st. Century #abafutures Why is getting help for legal problems such a labyrinth? #abafutures Can we build single legal help portals? #abafutures Every state should have

03/05

Legal innovation thoughts from Ron Dolan #abafutures

Trying  to capture Ron Dolin’s comments on legal start-ups, working with engineers, and looking at data. Related posts: Legal Innovation Blue Sky Agenda #ABAFutures A Designer’s Take on Legal Innovation #abafutures Why is getting help for legal problems such a labyrinth? #abafutures Every state should have a single legal help portal #abafutures Richard Susskind: legal

02/05

Lawyers need to be smarter tech consumers

From the ABA Legal Innovation Summit Related posts: Can we build family law tech? Why Don’t Law Firms Invest in Tech? Justice Entrepreneurs Project: Incubator for Young Lawyers Using legal tech for better law firm-client relationships Better Legal Innovation part 1: Brainstorming with Lawyers How can we change lawyers’ behavior? UNHCR, Refugees, & Tech Innovation

30/04

How can we improve regulation of the legal industry? #FutureLaw

A sketch note from the Codex Future Law panel happening now. Related posts: Regulation of Law & Access to Justice at FutureLaw Can we make Texas rule on self-help the national default? #FutureLaw Does “The Innovator’s Dilemma” Apply to the Legal Industry? Can we use TV-law-love to improve real-life legal services? What if we redesigned

30/04

Can we make Texas rule on self-help the national default? #FutureLaw

Another sketch from today’s Future Law conference at Stanford. Related posts: How can we improve regulation of the legal industry? #FutureLaw Regulation of Law & Access to Justice at FutureLaw The No Asshole Rule & Legal Organization Design The Legal Designer – and the new professional skillsets The National Expungement Project: a web app for

13/04

Using legal tech for better law firm-client relationships

Here are some of my sketchnotes from last Thursday’s Emerging Legal Tech Forum in NYC, at Thomson Reuters. These notes are from the talk by James Yoon, a partner at Wilson Sonsini & a patent litigator. It’s his observations about how technology can complement litigators’ work, and improve corporate clients’ understanding of what the litigators

09/04

How can we change lawyers’ behavior?

Some insights delivered from the Emerging Legal Technology forum, from Ralph Baxter, Steve Poor, and Jim Yoon — lawyers who are all invested in changing law firms to be more innovative.    Related posts: Using legal tech for better law firm-client relationships Seyfarth’s interactive legal maps The changing ways in which General Counsels respond to

09/04

New Contract Technologies 

 Another sketched out note from the Emerging Legal Technology Forum, this time about contract related legal tech, from Kingsley Martin.    Related posts: Using legal tech for better law firm-client relationships How do we solve legal information challenges? 3 main approaches How can we change lawyers’ behavior? Seyfarth’s interactive legal maps Mobile tech for dispute resolution

09/04

Seyfarth’s interactive legal maps

  Another sketchnote from the Emerging Legal Technology Forum, from Seyfarth Shaw’s Chairman Stephen Poor, about software they have developed in-house for their lawyers to use while going through cases. Related posts: Using legal tech for better law firm-client relationships Interactive Legal Maps How can we change lawyers’ behavior? Legal Claim Maps How do we

09/04

How do we solve legal information challenges? 3 main approaches

  Today I am at the Emerging Legal Technology Forum, put on by Thomson Reuters’ Legal Executive Institute and Stanford Law School. I will be sharing out my notes — here is my first, from a talk by Codex director Roland Vogl about the main camps of legal info solutions. Related posts: Using legal tech

12/03

The Legal Designer – and the new professional skillsets

A sketch from my notebook on what it means to be a ‘Legal Designer’ — what the skillsets of such a new hybrid breed of legal professional should be. As I plan out my upcoming Intro to Legal Design class at Stanford Law School/d.school, I’m thinking a lot about what the ideal kind of training

11/03

Where is the concept of Care in Legal Services?

Last weekend, I attended some sessions of a Design Symposium at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design. The topic was ‘Transition Design’ — how we as designers can plan for a rapidly changing society, as well as how we help individuals through challenging transitions in their own life stages & well-being. One of the speakers

02/03

Should Criminal Lawyers Engage in Crowdsourcing?

I had written a short piece on the potential rise of crowdsourcing in legal investigations earlier in the year — and following up on that, Stanford Lawyer has asked four different criminal law specialists to weigh in with their thoughts on the topic. You can read their thoughts at this Up For Discussion piece over

30/01

Is there a generational gap among lawyers?

I’ve put together a new short questionnaire, on the topic of the increasingly-discussed ‘Generational Gap Among Lawyers’.  I’m interested to hear your take on whether this gap exists, how important it actually is for the profession, and what we can do to bridge it.  Leave your thoughts below, and I will package the responses up

21/01

CrowdDefend & Crowdfunding legal cases

Connected to my post last week on crowdsourcing legal investigations, I wanted to spotlight the possibility of using crowd support online to get attention, funding, and social capital for current cases. What would crowdfunding social justice campaigns, impact litigation, or just regular people’s lawsuits look like?  And how could it operate in the most engaging

19/01

Legal rotating tours

Kristina Brousalis tipped me off to this Canadian initiative at giving trainee lawyers ‘Tours of Duty’ through different parts of the legal profession. Legal Aid Ontario has a Lawyer Workforce Strategy, that invites both students and existing lawyers to take part in a tour through different types of legal jobs.  This gives them a chance

14/01

The No Asshole Rule & Legal Organization Design

Over winter break, I got through a stack of books — including two by Stanford Management Science & Engineering professor Bob Sutton.  I read his new one with Huggy Rao, Scaling Up Excellence, and an older volume — The No Asshole Rule.  In that book, Sutton calls out that certain type of professional who acts

13/01

Can we crowdsource legal investigations?

Yesterday I went to a lunch at Stanford Law School on the podcast Serial, and the role of advocacy & the media in the legal system. My friend & collaborator Umbreen Bhatti was interviewing Rabia Choudry, who is the family friend of Adnan Syed who had brought his case to the radio journalist Sarah Koenig

22/12

Immigo: app of resources for immigration advocates

Immigration Advocates Network & Pro Bono Net released an app Immigo this year to serve advocates on the go.  It is an app with 3 main functions: Listing out trainings and support events for legal professionals Providing links to nearby legal help centers that the advocate could contact or refer a client to; Curating a

15/09

Redesigning a Legal Bill

On his blog “the [non]billable hour”, legal consultant Matt Homann challenged law firms to design a more readable, engaging, client-centered bill for legal services. If your clients designed your bills, what would they look like?  Would they be easier to understand?  Contain useful case status information?  How about upcoming dates or milestones?  Would your bills include information about the

28/08

California Pleading Bank: a ‘githubbing law’ project

The State of California has a Pleading Bank that can be used by a licensed attorney to find sample, guiding documents to expedite her work.  It links back to our earlier discussion on this site as to potential Form/Document sharing among legal professionals — as a model for Githubbing Legal Work Product among lawyers. It

05/08

Githubbing Law: Open-source legal doc repositories

What would a Github for Law look like? And is it worth building? This afternoon I got an email from a site visitor who asked if I knew of any projects in the works that stakes a Github for Lawyers out — and if there is a profitable business model in such an undertaking. Github

09/07

Designing corporate responsibility policies

From WeHave the Future, in Veneto region of Northern Italy Related posts: Regulation of Law & Access to Justice at FutureLaw How can we improve regulation of the legal industry? #FutureLaw Can we make Texas rule on self-help the national default? #FutureLaw Tech + Human Trafficking in Mekong Law schools need to be disaggregated #abafutures

15/04

Justice Entrepreneurs Project: Incubator for Young Lawyers

I’ve been looking around for different models of promoting entrepreneurship among JDs & young lawyers. There are a few interesting post-graduation incubators, that help recent law graduates get oriented and start their own practice. For example, Justice Entrepreneurs Project from the Chicago Bar Foundation. The JEP not only gives young lawyers training to start their

11/03

Legal Design Concept: How’s My Litigating?

A concept design that came out of a legal workshop I ran last week among legal aid & self-help lawyers. Related posts: Law School Improv concept design Where is the concept of Care in Legal Services? Access by Design concept: a resource-rich legal smartphone Legal Concept Design: A Bar-Taking Robot Book of Legal Design Patterns

12/02

Reinvent Law visual: Legal by Design

Another sketch from last Friday’s Reinvent Law conference in NYC, that somehow didn’t manage to upload then (so here it is now!). Related posts: Reinvent Law: Richard Susskind on tech & access to law Law is A Design Profession Ravel Law, visual legal research We Need Legal Hackers Low Hanging Fruit for Legal Design Iron

07/02

Experimentation in a law firm, Seyfarth Shaw

Related posts: Seyfarth’s interactive legal maps Legal Concepts: Law Firm Uniforms Using legal tech for better law firm-client relationships Lawyers Should be the Straw that Stirs Justice Entrepreneurs Project: Incubator for Young Lawyers Githubbing Law: Open-source legal doc repositories Six Sigma as Law Redesign Immigo: app of resources for immigration advocates Legal rotating tours CrowdDefend

07/02

Lawyers Should be the Straw that Stirs

Related posts: How can we change lawyers’ behavior? Is there a generational gap among lawyers? Lawyers need to be smarter tech consumers Should Criminal Lawyers Engage in Crowdsourcing? How good are your lawyers, actually? To innovate lawyers must democratize their client relationships #abafutures Justice Entrepreneurs Project: Incubator for Young Lawyers Apps for Trial Lawyers Apps

07/02

Law is A Design Profession

Related posts: How could the legal profession cultivate innovators? #abafutures Law schools need to be hubs of research about the profession #abafutures What would design-driven policy-making look like? Book of Legal Design Patterns Design Thinking & Law: A Perfect Match Legal Design Concept: How’s My Litigating? A Legal Design Manifesto Plain Language & Legal Design

07/02

We Need Legal Hackers

Related posts: How do we make the Internet a great legal service? Centralize & Coordinate Legal Help Online Legal Concepts: Law Firm Uniforms The Legal Designer – and the new professional skillsets Where is the concept of Care in Legal Services? Can we crowdsource legal investigations? What if we redesigned legal systems for the end

04/02

Estate Quest video game for estate planning

Stephanie Kimbro has posted on YouTube a preview of the legal game Estate Quest she & her team are designing, all on Estate Planning for consumers. Her summary: This is a demo of level one of Estate Quest. This will be a cross-platform video game to teach basic estate planning concepts. Players will win awards

28/10

The Creative Lawyer: Jonathan Tobin

I’m starting a series on lawyers who have figured out ways to integrate creativity & design into their professional life. Here is my first interview, with Jonathan Tobin, who heads up Counsel for Creators. He comes from a creative & design background, and has managed to bridge that into his legal practice. Would you describe

24/09

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

04/08

Low Hanging Fruit for Legal Design

A sketch of some possible targets for redesigning. Related posts: Reinvent Law visual: Legal by Design What if we redesigned legal systems for the end user? Legal Design Jam at Stanford The No Asshole Rule & Legal Organization Design Legal Design Concept: How’s My Litigating? Legal Concept Design: A Bar-Taking Robot Boston Legal Design Meetup

24/06

Why Don’t Law Firms Invest in Tech?

A small illustration of a truism that is floating around, in answer to the title question. Related posts: The Program for Legal Tech & Design Lawyers need to be smarter tech consumers A call to Remix Legal Services with Process, Tech & People Law Design Tech office hours Hand Drawn Tech Law The Problem of

14/05

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? Where is the concept of Care in Legal Services? Legal Concept Design: A Bar-Taking Robot What if we redesigned legal systems for the end user?

14/03

Apps for Trial Lawyers

The Lawyerist published a review of a new app — JuryPad — for lawyers to help them manage the jury-selection process, proceed through voir dire, and pick a better jury. It also name-checks a few other apps for practicing trial lawyers, that also may be worth checking out (though all fairly pricey). TranscriptPad helps the

11/03

Juror’s User Experience, part 2

More wonderful insights into how citizens called to be jurors experience the court system in the UK — from the RED project, by the Design Council —read more, http://www.designcouncil.info/mt/RED/citizenship/. Related posts: Design Insights Re: Jurors Citizen as User, Design Research Touching the State What is User Experience Design? User experience design for law User Experience

07/03

Design Insights Re: Jurors

Great, rich, human insights into how citizens called to be jurors experience the court system in the UK — from the RED project, by the Design Council —read more, http://www.designcouncil.info/mt/RED/citizenship/. Related posts: Citizen as User, Design Research Touching the State Juror’s User Experience, part 2 Courthouse Design: Insights Online Mediation: Design Process notes The Good

07/03

Citizen as User, Design Research

Great, rich user insights about Citizenship and people’s relationships with the government, from the Red – Touching the State project http://www.designcouncil.info/mt/RED/citizenship/   Related posts: Touching the State Design Insights Re: Jurors Juror’s User Experience, part 2 What is User Experience Design? User experience design for law Persona Template, for user-centered design process Ravel Law, visual

07/03

Touching the State

RED was a UK initiative that was operational between 2004 and 2006.  It was set up by the Design Council in the UK, to tackle public policy, social, and economic issues through design-driven innovation.  Its themes included health, aging, energy, democracy, and — of interest to this project — Citizenship.  They summarize their initiative as

09/11

How good are your lawyers, actually?

Related posts: Lawyers Should be the Straw that Stirs How can we change lawyers’ behavior? Is there a generational gap among lawyers? Lawyers need to be smarter tech consumers Should Criminal Lawyers Engage in Crowdsourcing? A2J Author for Non-Lawyers Mobile Ethics App for Lawyers Apps to Manage Lawyers Apps for Trial Lawyers Justice Entrepreneurs Project:

07/11

Legal Concepts: Law Firm Uniforms

what to do for a tax break? institute mandatory uniforms at law firms. deductions, deductions, deductions! Related posts: Using legal tech for better law firm-client relationships The No Asshole Rule & Legal Organization Design Experimentation in a law firm, Seyfarth Shaw A call to Remix Legal Services with Process, Tech & People Design concepts for