Access to Justice Innovations

How might we design products and services that allow for better delivery of legal services to more people?

Design can bring a human-centered set of strategies to those working on justice innovation. How do we make legal services, courts, and administrative agencies that people can and want to use?

Can we design better technology solutions to let people build their legal capacity? To empower people with legal knowledge?

Can we design better information and communications, to help people learn how the justice system works? And how to navigate it?

And can we design better laws, policies, and system-level changes that make a justice system that lets people meaningfully participate in courts, and other justice decisions?

These posts cover what such interventions have been tried before, how they have fared, and what other measures might be tried in the future.

You can see more of my project work with the Stanford Legal Design Lab on justice system innovations here at our Justice Innovation page!

My posts on Access to Justice Innovations

System Shocks & A2J Policy

At last week’s Access to Justice Symposium hosted by the Stanford Law Review, I was on a panel about A2J and housing, with a focus on evictions. What are the policies and services that can prevent evictions, or mitigate…

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Making complicated court & efiling tech clear

As part of my access to justice innovation work, I realize one big barrier to change is understanding how systems currently operate. For example, filing and court technology is confusing. There are lots of acronyms and interrelated systems: efiling…

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Institutional Mindset for people in court

Victor Quintanilla presented at Georgetown Law/American Bar Foundation on his research on people’s experience of courts. He’s measuring people’s social psychology while going through a justice journey – -including how they are treated by court and legal services staff…

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How can legal design work be evaluated?

From day 2 of the Digital Citizens conference at the University of Melbourne, Dr. Genevieve Grant of Monash University presented on how rigorous outcome, process, and ethical evaluation could be brought into legal design work. The points are quite…

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This Year’s LSC ITCon in Pictures + Drawings

January’s Legal Services Corporation ITCon (the conference formerly known as TIG) is the best place for legal aid technology geeks. Someone explicitly called me a geek at this conference, and it is true. This conference brings together several hundred…

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What Law can learn from Digital Epidemiology

There is an interesting movement in public health research, around using people’s online posts, clicks, website visits, searches, and other behavior to better understand what health issues are: see Digital epidemiology: tracking diseases in the mobile age. Could we have…

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A theory of change for Legal Design work

I have been reading a tremendous amount of policy and design literature, to find some worthwhile grounding of my Lab’s design work in the civil justice sphere, in other academic and policy literature that is also concerned with creative,…

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8 Ideas for Better Court wayfinding

For the court user testing I am working on at the Legal Design Lab, we have been testing different ideas to make court process more navigable — getting litigants’feedback and agenda on them. Now, we will turn to a…

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Preventative Approaches to Legal Help

If we frame access to justice innovation around scouting what problems people have that might lead to legal or life crisis finding patterns of issues and how they proceed finding where people are reaching out for help, seeking resources…

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Jumping Off the Ivory Tower podcast

My  listening this week: a podcast, Jumping Off the Ivory Tower, from Prof. Julie MacFarlane, of Canada’s National Self Represented Litigant Project. Here’s how Julie presents her vision for the podcast: Jumping Off the Ivory Tower with ProfJulieMac is a…

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How will courts be disrupted?

Courts aren’t used to thinking about competition. Most have been used to be the only provider of dispute resolution. They haven’t had to think about the public as customers with choice. David Slayton, the court administrator of Texas scourts,…

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How can AI improve courts?

A quick sketch of some of the takeaways from a presentation I gave, along with Karl Branting of MITRE corporation at the National Association for court Management. We spoke on AI and Big Data in the courts, and what…

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Legal innovation’s paper roots #futurelaw

Radical– a historian at a Futurist panel! Prof. Norman Spaulding explains the populist roots of legal tools, to drive greater public access to what the law is. Before software, the technology was paper-based, gathering info, details, structures — making…

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Ending Poverty with Tech + Lawyers

This afternoon I was privileged to attend the final presentations in the new Stanford class Ending Poverty with Technology. This class is taught by Sociology professor David Grusky, in conjunction with the Stanford Center on Poverty & Inequality, of which…

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Photo Walkthroughs as legal guides

What are better ways to help people follow a legal process? To get all the tasks, forms, consults, and decisions made to get to resolution? One mode I’ve been experimenting with in my Prototyping Access to Justice class is…

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Lawbot as a chatbot lawyer for crim

A team from the University of Cambridge have launched Lawbot (BETA), an interactive conversational tool that can consult people on their possible legal situations. It’s a British tool, covering only criminal offenses in England and Wales. It lets people…

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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…

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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…

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Access to Justice movement 2.0

Why doesn’t it resonate with more Americans that we need a better justice system, that gives equal & universal access to all people who need to use law to deal with their life problems? Why don’t we have huge…

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Listening to Court Users

Setting the tone of a priority on User Experience at the California Beyond the Bench conference. This quote is from Administrative Director Martin Hoshino, about the need to put users’ point of view central to the court staff’s work.

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Sketches for Self-Help worksheets

I have been sketching out some possible templates for what a good one-pager worksheet would be, to guide a lay person through a legal process. Obviously the one-pager has enormous limits, so instead of thinking about it as a…

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Designing a Usable Online Privacy tool

I am working with a team at Carnegie Mellon to create more Usable Privacy Policies. One of the main deliverables we’re creating is a plugin for web browsers, that shows the user information about the site that they’re on….

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