What Is Legal Design?

What is legal design? That’s a good question. It’s a nascent discipline in which human-centered design methods are applied to the legal industry to innovate how legal information and services are delivered. 

Many different design disciplines are relevant to the legal industry. For example, graphic design relies on type, space, image and color to achieve effective visual communication. Similarly, information design is the practice of presenting information in a way that fosters efficient and effective understanding of it. Another relevant discipline is user-experience design, which is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product or service. 

Attorneys are tasked with communicating extremely complex and nuanced information to a diverse array of constituents—such as clients, judges and jurors. By drawing on a wide array of design principles, attorneys can identify each constituent’s unique needs and communicate with her more effectively. 

Beyond improving existing legal services and relationships, attorneys can also engage in design thinking to innovate new ways of practicing law. Design thinking is a formal process for framing problems, discovering the right questions to ask, and generating practical, creative solutions.

My intent in starting this blog is to write about all the various ways we can draw on design methods and mindsets to improve the practice of law, including pressing issues such as equal access to justice.