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.6 orders of legal design

These 6 Orders are the categories of interventions we working to improve access to justice — laypeople’s access to and empowerment within the legal system. I’ve drawn them out at an abstract level, but tried to hint at what kind of tools and policies would be contained in each.

I’ve listed them out in order of ambition too. Like I’ve written earlier on this blog, I’m eager to move conversations about user experience and usability beyond just making more Plain Language — or even beyond just making more visual and clean-composition interventions. Those are important, but they are also just the first orders of what could be happening.

I am pushing for interventions that are more ambitious — giving laypeople more ability to understand and customize legal info, legal processes, legal options for their own wise planning. Access to Justice requires more than just presenting info — it requires creating comprehension and decision-making tools for people, who are stuck in complex systems.

And, of course, the big target is making the system less complex. Why must procedures be so laborious and obscure? If we can change regulations and procedures within courts and legal services, then we can make big strides in improving laypeople’s comprehension & ability to navigate these systems.