Yes we are thinking about it, too.
Tedious language of lawyers, run of the mill procedures and meetings are something all users of law are familiar with. This often represents law and legal system as a fly in the ointment, with users not being fully able to understand or make smart decisions based on contextually well-prepared information.
Design thinking and innovation is nowadays inevitably intertwined with industry to improve products and services. And it is now more than ever subject of interest, innovation and importance even in a dull world of law.
Legal profession has faced mayor pressures concerning increased costs of service, digitalization, rising expectations of clients, billable hours and so on.
It makes one to wonder whether in the area of modernization, urge and obligation for expedited services and fast distribution of products and also huge need to reassure user friendly services, if it is still appropriate to work according to lawyer’s mindset, meaning clients contacting lawyers in order to solve complex legal problems and rely almost entirely on their expertise and previous experiences to deliver high-quality legal services? Or is it possible to work other way around, with designers primarily taking in consideration the real needs of the end user and only with this understanding to come up with a solution »Legal design is a way of assessing and creating legal services, with a focus on how usable, useful, and engaging these services are. It is an approach with three main sets of resources — process, mindsets, and mechanics — for legal professionals to use.« (Hagan, Law by Design).
The goal of legal design thinking is to better understand the context and needs of people who interact with the law and create innovations and solutions based on this knowledge. Combining lawyer’s legal expertise with designer methodology, different technologies it is one of the best ways to re-shape legal systems, services, products and environments and create ambitious new visions for how legal services can be provided.
Legal Structure design: What can designers offer?
Legal Design uses jargon free sentences, that are understandable to lay people. It uses visuals, texts for better representation and introduce information’s in consumable formats. This makes privacy policies, contracts easier to understand and enables lay out people or businessman to better negotiate or communicate their ideas, needs, requirements. Designers help organisations, firms to develop costumerized research and strategy that is based on costumers needs and empathy. They can help firms with defining their business challenges, design holistic strategies, market analysis, data collection, personal maps, carry out interviews with users and with different methodologies present different solutions, legal innovations that are creative, understandable, legal and also user-friendly.
Benefits of Legal design
- Legal Design helps to fill the gap in communication between both lay people and legal professionals. Contracts are discussed between lawyers, terms and conditions are hard to understand for most consumers, court systems are not easily navigable. Legal design results in legal information, services and products that are easily understood, accessible and visually clearer but still legally accurate and useful.
- Increased innovation. Use of research and different methodologies increase drastically the success of a strategy, product or service. And yes, innovation is very needed in our rigid legal system.
- Fast, efficient and successful. Prototypes are quickly organized, shared with others and tested. These process helps to rapidly determine and eliminate weaknesses and save the costs. (Klemola,https://medium.com/legal-design/why-every-organization-needs-legal-design-a7395da65ecb)
- Empathy. It is something that is usually lacked in legal system. When using legal design to tackle a legal challenge, the process first requires companies to actively interact with users. Costumers are asked questions about their wants, needs and goals. (Klemola, https://medium.com/legal-design/why-every-organization-needs-legal-design-a7395da65ecb) This creates a stronger relationship between a company, customers and clients. Positive interactions lead to brand loyalty and feeling of satisfaction of a costumer after the service.
- Empowerment of lay people and costumers. Usage of visual, understandable information helps to engage lay people in making smarter decisions and get people to follow through on a legal process.
- How do you train a new generation of legal service leaders? Should we educate future lawyers and legal professionals to know how to use technology and how to lead in a smart strategic way?
- How to treat users in a better way? How to make happier clients and product useful
- How do we make legal system more navigable?
Is legal design thinking really the tool for re-energizing legal system to bring innovation and success? Maybe contracts, terms and conditions, policies should stay in the same form because they evolved many years since Roman times to meet certain standards and criteria. Does legal design devalue law in some way? It definitely represents interesting and innovative approach towards law but there is a thin line between creativity and loss of expertise. On the other hand industry and business are rapidly changing and it could be that the future of law depends to some extend to the new generation of lawyers that are technologically advanced, open to innovation, empathic, interdisciplinary and well trained. What do you think is the future of law and IP? Soft and flexible or firm and rigid? Can it be something in between?
Hagan Margaret: Law by Design. http://www.lawbydesign.co/en/legal-design/
Legal DesignEDU https://www.legaldesignedu.org/research-for-strategic-innovation
Kohlmeir A., 2019. is Legal Design Thinking? A Guide for Legal Professionals
Legal Innovation and Tech Fest. https://www.legalfestival.com/what-is-legal-design-thinking-a-guide-for-legal-professionals