Eviction Legal Help workshop

Last Wednesday, Stanford 2nd year law student, and PhD candidate, Daniel Bernal led a design workshop on his project to create better legal help interventions for Pima County, Arizona residents facing eviction.

We had 25 participants from around the law school, design school, and professional lawyers and legal clinics who work on housing law. Daniel presented his work so far, from his Phd studies and classes he has taught, on what kinds of legal situations are common, what information in different situations should know, and the 20-page information packet that he and his class created to provide key legal help.

His challenge for the workshop was: how else, besides a 20-page informational packet sent from the court, could we intervene to support a person who has just been served with an eviction suit?

What might help a person understand if they have a legal defense, and then engage them to come to their hearing and protect their rights — or even engage in a mediation or take advantage of other court and legal help services?

Also, he challenged us to think in a wider timeline. If a person goes through several evictions in their lifetime, as is not uncommon in Arizona, then how might we intervene to educate and empower them for a future eviction, if not this immediate one?

Daniel prepared 4 different use cases and user personas, that grounded each of the design teams in a particular situation. We formed teams of 4-5 people around different use cases, and led the teams through brainstorming, prioritization, and prototyping of new concepts. Among the ideas: a mobile eviction help van with lawyers, a conversational app that would help direct people to the right, streamlined content to focus on, and a Khan-Academy-like training for people who want to defend themselves from eviction.

Daniel will take the ideas, refine some of them, and prototype another possible legal help intervention he can test next year.

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