Reading List on Legal Design

We have been scouting out work in legal academia and practice, that shows a design approach in action. It also brings in interdisciplinary works that can guide people in the legal system to do more user-centered, experimental work.

Reading List
30/06

Design for Dignity and Procedural Justice by Margaret D. Hagan and Miso Kim

I have co-authored a piece, with my design professor colleague, Miso Kim, on the intersection of her work on interventions to enhance “perceived control” of a system, and my design work to improve self-help centers in courts. A manuscript of the pice is available at SSRN: Design for Dignity and Procedural Justice by Margaret D. Hagan,

29/06

A Call for Law Schools to Link the Curricular Trends of Legal Tech and Mindfulness, by Katrina Lee

The law professor Katrina Lee, of the Ohio State University, has published an article in the University of Toledo, on the links between empathy, mindfulness, and creativity along with legal technology. She integrates references to legal design as one method toward this — highlighting the Legal Design Lab’s work in creating new modes of education

07/06

User-Centered Privacy Communication Design, by Margaret Hagan

I just posted up a conference paper I wrote last year for the SOUPS conference on usable privacy and security. It’s called “User-Centered Privacy Communication Design.” It was published in Proceedings of the Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS) 2016, Denver, Colorado, June 22-24, 2016. The abstract: In this paper, we describe a user-centered

29/03

The User Experience of the Internet as a Legal Help Service article

One of my academic articles has just been published in the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology. It’s called “The User Experience of the Internet as a Legal Help Service.” The article presents findings from my research into how people experience the Internet when they try to use it to solve legal problems. As more

29/03

Self-Help, Reimagined by Jim Greiner, Dalie Jiminez, and Lois Lupica

This article, Self-Help Reimagined, from Jim Greiner, Dalie Jiminez, and Lois Lupica explores how better to present Self-Help materials to people going through court procedures without a lawyer. Self-Help, Reimagined Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 92, No. 1, 2016 53 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2015 Last revised: 16 Jul 2016 D. James Greiner Harvard University –

17/03

Design Management Institute on the value of design in business innovation

The Design Management Institute has a sharp, succinct article on the value of design-driven innovation in a company. It is from a 2013 publication on how design can benefit strategy-making, service offerings, internal culture, and overall brand of a company. The article also serves as a scorecard tool, to help leaders judge the work going

07/11

Ballot Design as Fail-Safe: An Ounce of Rotation Is Worth a Pound of Litigation

Mary Beth Beazley wrote an article in 2013, Ballot Design as Fail-Safe: An Ounce of Rotation Is Worth a Pound of Litigation that examines the importance of visual design to how people make choices on the ballot. She examines typical ballot designs with an eye towards how positioning of information affects how people choose. Here’s

16/08

ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services’ final report

The ABA’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services has issued its final report on what the future will be for legal products and services in the US. It’s based on several years of research, analysis, and brainstorming about how the legal profession can adapt to the changing environment of technology and regulations, as well

12/04

Technology: Breaking the law, article in the Financial Times

The Financial Times has an article from Michael Skapnier, Technology: Breaking the Law, about the coming coming changes to the legal system — both in terms of professionals and consumers — with new technologies online. High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut &

12/04

How artificial intelligence is transforming the legal profession, by Julie Sobowale at the ABA Journal

Julie Sobowale has a new piece, as of April 2016, in the ABA Journal called ‘How artificial intelligence is transforming the legal profession’ Artificial intelligence is changing the way lawyers think, the way they do business and the way they interact with clients. Artificial intelligence is more than legal technology. It is the next great

06/04

White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable report on Civil Legal Aid Research

The White House’s Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (with the DOJ’s National Institute of Justice and Office for Access to Justice, along with the National Science Foundation) published a report in February 2016 detailing a workshop they held in 2015 all about what’s happening in regards to Civil Legal Aid Research, and what the agenda for

06/05

Report of The Summit on the Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice

The Legal Service Corporation’s Technology Initiative Grant program held a summit in 2012-13 about the future of legal services & the use of tech to get there. They issued Report of The Summit on the Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice, to summarize their findings and work. The “Report of The Summit on

05/05

The Great Disruption: How Machine Intelligence Will Transform the Role of Lawyers in the Delivery of Legal Services by John O. McGinnis, Russell G. Pearce

  This 2014 article, The Great Disruption: How Machine Intelligence Will Transform the Role of Lawyers in the Delivery of Legal Services, from Fordham/Northwestern Law professors John McGinnis & Russell Pearce talks about the coming changes to how courts, legal aid groups, and other providers serve lay people. It points to major shifts in how tech-based

02/04

Future of legal services and the development of legal Knowledge Management

Future of legal services and the development of legal Knowledge Management/a> is an article on VoxPopuLII from Cornell Information Institute by Helena Hallgarn & Ann Bjork. The legal profession has for long been notoriously averse to change, but now even the legal industry is affected by a new harsher reality with widespread changes impacting legal

31/03

Innovation, Growth, and Getting to Where You Want to Go

Innovation, Growth, and Getting to Where You Want to Go is a 2007 article from two IDEO designers published in the Design Management Review. It is a great, short read on how design-thinking methods can help a business to break out of incremental thinking and towards new, breakthrough value propositions. It is aimed particularly at

27/03

Crossing the Quality Chasm: creating quality metrics for the US health system

What can we in legal services learn from medical services, when it comes to imposing standardization and quality metrics on our work? One medical industry report — Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century, from the Institute of Medicine offers one example for us to borrow from. This report from

27/03

Making Futures: Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design, and Democracy: Pelle Ehn, Elisabet M. Nilsson, Richard Topgaard

Making Futures: Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design, and Democracy: is a book edited by Pelle Ehn, Elisabet M. Nilsson, Richard Topgaard, all about how design can be used for innovation in democracy and social services — as well as more complex development initiatives. Innovation and design need not be about the search for a killer

26/03

Designing for Behavior Change

As I’ve been thinking more about how to engage legal users with legal services, I’ve been reading more from behavioral economists & designers, all about behavior change strategies.  One book I’ve enjoyed has been Designing for Behavior Change. This book is great for the designer (or lawyer) who is interested in creating new habits, stickier

24/03

Smarter Information, Smarter Consumers from HBR

A 2013 article from behavioral economist Richard Thaler & Will Tucker called Smarter Information, Smarter Consumers on Harvard Business Review profiles the need for better choice architecture and design. The point is that disclosure is not sufficient, there needs to be more thoughtful and guided presentation of options (and nudges towards wiser choices). Disclosures far

12/03

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity by Alan Cooper, is a book that focuses on how to develop tech tools that are more user-centered. Imagine, at a terrifyingly aggressive rate, everything you regularly use is being equipped with computer technology. Think about

28/01

Using Technology to Unbundle Legal Services, by Stephanie Kimbro

Stephanie Kimbro authored a 2013 occasional paper for Harvard’s Journal of Law & Technology, on Using Technology to Unbundle Legal Services. From the introduction: This article provides an overview of the different forms of unbundling and examines the use of technology to unbundle legal services and deliver the unbundled services to clients. Case studies are

26/01

BigLaw as Legal Fiction and the Lack of Innovation by Ron Dolin

Ron Dolin has a new article on his blog Think Outside the Bar, all about law firms & the possibility of innovation.  Here’s the intro — read the rest of the article here, at BigLaw as Legal Fiction and the Lack of Innovation. We often come across the concept of “legal fiction” in law: corporations,

27/01

From Big Law to Lean Law by William D. Henderson

A reading about the future of legal practice in the US: From Big Law to Lean Law by William D. Henderson via SSRN. The abstract: In a provocative 2009 essay entitled The Death of Big Law, the late Larry Ribstein predicted the shrinkage, devolution, and ultimate demise of the traditional large law firm. At the

19/01

Queensland community legal centres’ use of tech

Kristina Brousalis pointed me to this Summer 2014 report from Canada about how technology is being used in legal services. As information and communications technologies (ICT) have rapidly developed since the mid-1990s, so too have organisations in developing and evolving their ICT usage for communication, engagement and service delivery. Social media, email, e-commerce, mobile apps,

09/12

All the Wild Possibilities: Technology that Attacks Barriers to Access to Justice

All the Wild Possibilities: Technology that Attacks Barriers to Access to Justice is a 2009 article from law professor Ronald W. Staudt of Chicago Kent College of Law about how tech could contribute to Access to Justice. It gives a short history of the A2J Author tool that came out of an IIT-Chicago Kent collaboration,

19/11

Technology for Better Fact Finding – De-Ritualizing the Criminal Jury Trial

via Technology for Better Fact Finding | The IT Countrey Justice. A paper from Judge David Harvey: This is a paper that I presented to the 14th International Criminal Law Congress in Melbourne on 11 October 2014. In brief it argues that new information technologies should be employed more widely in the Court system to

11/11

12 Confused Men: Using Flowchart Verdict Sheets To Mitigate Inconsistent Civil Verdicts

12 Confused Men: Using Flowchart Verdict Sheets To Mitigate Inconsistent Civil Verdicts Jerry J. Fang Abstract The finality of jury verdicts reflects an implicit societal acceptance of the soundness of the jury’s decision. Regardless, jurors are not infallible, and the questions they are often tasked with deciding are unfortunately neither obvious nor clear. The length

26/10

Embracing Disruption: How Technological Change in the Delivery of Legal Services Can Improve Access to Justice

Embracing Disruption: How Technological Change in the Delivery of Legal Services Can Improve Access to Justice by Raymond H. Brescia, Walter Alan McCarthy, Kellan Burton Potts, Cassandra Rivais, Ashley M McDonald :: SSRN. Embracing Disruption: How Technological Change in the Delivery of Legal Services Can Improve Access to Justice Raymond H. Brescia Albany Law School

16/09

Law on Display: The Digital Transformation of Legal Persuasion and Judgment

Law professors Neal Feigenson and Christina Spiesel published the book Law on Display in 2011. They make the argument that visuals are becoming increasingly powerful in legal courtrooms: to frame issues, to persuade jurors, to convey scientific evidence with greater force, and to change how advocates represent clients. The book argues that as more visuals

15/09

The Virtual Day in Court report from the RSA

This 2011 report of a legal design undertaking — how might we redesign courts to improve the user experience and increase the presence of efficient, usable technology in court procedures — is a great example of legal design-driven innovation.  It comes from RSA, a UK non-profit that brings experimentation & design to social problems. Here

12/09

Design Thinking by Tim Brown

IDEO CEO & President Tim Brown has a great piece in the Harvard Business Review back in 2008, an introduction to Design Thinking, particularly for managers & businesspeople looking to innovate in how they serve their customers. It gives an overview into design thinking process & mindsets, as well as the connection to how it

04/09

Best Practice Benchmarking for Legal Services Sites 2014, from Urban Insight

Earlier this year, Abhijeet Chavan of Urban Insight published a fascinating report of Best Practice Benchmarking for Legal Services Sites. It was originally presented earlier in 2014 at the LSC TIG Conference.  The report looks at how users are accessing legal help sites, what type of tools and designs the sites offer, and what reading

04/09

Rethinking Regulation & Innovation in the U.S. Legal Services Market by Ray Worthy Campbell

Rethinking Regulation and Innovation in the U.S. Legal Services Market is an article from Ray Worthy Campbell of Peking University School of Transnational Law, from March 2012, about what innovations are going on in the legal services market & what regulation could facilitate more of it. It relies on Clayton Christensen’s writing to structure the

19/08

Diagramming Contracts, from a computer science perspective

Three computer scientists from Chalmers Univ. of Technology & the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have released a short paper presenting a possible diagramming scheme for legal documents.  John Camilleri, Gabriele Paganelli, and Gerardo Schneider published “A CNL for for Contract-Oriented Diagrams” to explain how it may be possible to visually represent a contract’s text.  The

04/08

Are Law Firms Manageable? by David Maister

Law firm & business consultant David Maister wrote a wonderful article, “Are Law Firms Manageable?”, in 2006 about organizational culture in law firms. Maister had been working with several firms about how to instigate change & experimentation inside US law firms. He identified four major roadblocks to changing law firm culture: problems with trust; difficulties

28/07

Organizing Better Self-help Systems: a design study

“Access to Legal Services: Organizing Better Self-help Systems” is a 2007 design-oriented paper on how Self-Help systems could be made more user-friendly.  The authors Gina Mastarone & Susan Feinberg assess the status-quo designs (as of mid-2000s) of self-help legal sites & conduct some user feedback sessions on them. Here is the paper abstract via IEEE

21/07

“Portal or Pot Hole” – how do older people use the Internet to solve legal problems?

I am compiling a bibliography of research on how different types of lay people use the Internet & other tech tools to address their legal problems.  A great deal of work is coming out of the UK, particularly from researcher Catrina Denvir. This is an April 2014 article in Cambridge University Press’ Ageing and Society

21/07

Is Telephone Advice Enough for legal services?

Here is another research article from the UK about how tech-based legal services perform in delivering Access to Justice. The article, “Just a Phone Call Away: Is Telephone Advice Enough?”, comes from Nigel Balmer, Marisol Smith, Catrina Denvir and Ash Patel. It is from 2012. Here is the abstract: Over the last two decades the

13/05

Legal Technology & Informatics Syllabus

Below is the syllabus from the Legal Technology & Informatics Class that Ron Dolin taught at Stanford Law School in the Fall of 2012. Several positive collaborations with students and entrepreneurs have come out of this course, including Ron’s work with Margaret Hagan and the Program for Legal Technology and Design. The syllabus contains key concepts covered in each class

07/05

Visualizing the Law by Adam Rosman

Here is a law article from last year, by lawyer Adam L. Rosman, about how visual design can be integrated into legal documents. He offers several different examples of how visuals may be used to illustrate and explain. The piece is written primarily to legal practitioners, to help them understand what good visual design may

06/05

Design-Driven Innovation by Roberto Verganti

Here is an excerpt from Verganti’s website, Design-Driven Innovation about the book: The Strategy of Design-Driven Innovation Two major findings have characterized management literature in the past decades. The first is that radical innovation, albeit risky, is one of the major sources of long-term competitive advantage. For many authors, however, the phrase radical innovation is

12/03

Law As Engineering: Thinking About What Lawyers Do, by David Howarth

Law As Engineering: Thinking About What Lawyers Do: David Howarth: 9780857933775: Amazon.com: Books. ‘David Howarth’s Law as Engineering is a profound contribution to the law. Evoking the level of originality associated with pioneering contributions to law and economics half a century ago, Howarth’s book aligns law, not on economics, but on engineering styles of thought

10/03

On Visual Law: Visual Legal Communication Practices and Their Scholarly Exploration by Colette R. Brunschwig

On Visual Law: Visual Legal Communication Practices and Their Scholarly Exploration by Colette R. Brunschwig :: SSRN. Digital visual media have implications for the law. Also, the interest in visual legal communication is growing both within and outside the legal context. In light of these observations, this paper addresses various related questions: Is there already

03/03

Reinventing the Practice of Law: Emerging Models to Enhance Affordable Legal Services

Reinventing the Practice of Law: Emerging Models to Enhance Affordable Legal Services. We all want to make things better. We want to improve our law practices. We want to improve the legal profession. We want to improve our communities. Reinventing the Practice of Law explores ways in which lawyers can change their practices to make

21/01

Usability is Free: Improving Efficiency by Making the Court More User-Friendly

This article discusses the potential for making usable, user-friendly courts. It highlights this approach to refocus how court staff tackle the challenge of being overburdened with litigants: Usability strategies involve more than simply dumping tasks online. We can identify seven new types of understanding that such strategies typically require of court managers: Understanding of the

13/01

Next Generation Contracts, by Helena Haapio

  Helena Haapio’s new volume Next Generation Contracts: A Paradigm Shift, collecting her writings (and sketchnotes of her work) on how lawyers may better design contracts, is a great resource for those interested in user-friendly law. Plus the cover & design of the book itself is gorgeous.

13/01

The Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice, by the Legal Services Corporation

In December 2013, the LSC released a report on their past meetings on how to use technology to expand access to justice.  It outlines their vision of providing an Integrated Service-Delivery System, state by state, that would allow consumers to enter a single portal to get their legal needs addressed. The report comes out of

23/12

A Virtual Day in Court: Design Thinking & Virtual Courthouses

Cisco & the RSA held a workshop in 2011 on using design thinking to reimagine how legal services are delivered in Courthouses. They published a short paper, 11 pages, called “A Virtual Day in Court: Design-Thinking & Virtual Courts” describing their approach, ideation, and possible projects that could result. Find the full paper here:  A-Virtual-Day-in-Court.pdf.

14/12

Designing the Delivery of Government Services

via Designing the delivery of legislative measures | Australian Taxation Office. Here is another article on the Australian Taxation Office project — how they took design process and mindsets and tried to apply them to how tax products & services are implemented by the government in Australia. Designing the delivery of legislative measures, by Michael

14/12

Redesigning Legal Bureaucracy: the Australian Tax Office project

DESIGNING THE AUSTRALIAN TAX SYSTEM, by Dr Alan Preston, formerly Second Commissioner of Taxation, The Australian Taxation Office included in Managing as Designing, ed. by Richard J. Boland Jr. and Fred Collopy, Stanford Business Books, 2004. Dr. Alan Preston, the former Second Commissioner of Taxation in the Australian Taxation Office, wrote a piece about an

13/12

Putting Some Product into Work-Product: Corporate Lawyers Learning from Designers by Jay A. Mitchell

Mitchell, Jay A., Putting Some Product into Work-Product: Corporate Lawyers Learning from Designers (September 22, 2013). Stanford Law Professor Jay Mitchell, director of the Transactions Clinic there, has published a working paper about design principles for lawyers.  His argument — which I find immensely persuasive — is that corporate lawyers are constantly designing products, in

09/12

Software Usability and Legal Informatics by Anna Ronkainen

This paper is a nice small introduction to how legal information systems can be possibly made more usable, and to diverse populations when it comes to education and ability. Software Usability and Legal Informatics by Anna Ronkainen :: SSRN. This paper examines software usability from two different perspectives within legal informatics. Firstly, the current state

11/11

Understanding better through Document Design, an interview with Karen A. Schriver

InfoDesign: Understanding by Design | Special on Karen A. Schriver. This piece from InfoDesign presents an enormously useful discussion about how good document and information design can improve the usefulness of a document to a client.  It can be applied to the design of legal forms, contracts, educational materials, and other times that legal tasks

06/11

Rethinking Systems Diagrams, by Soojin Jun, Miso Kim, and Joonhwan Lee

This paper from Carnegie Mellon design researchers, Soojin Jun, Miso Kim, and Joonhwan Lee Rethinking Systems Diagrams presents the legal designer with a wealth of potential resources & processes to create better documents. The authors are writing from the perspective of information designers, who want to be able to present complexity and highlight important information

30/10

Richard Zorza’s Access to Justice Blog

Richard Zorza’s Access to Justice Blog provides regular updates on new technology & services that aim to increase people’s access to court systems & legal pathways. Zorza also has piloted programs, designed new access systems, and published research on these topics — with more depth on how new methods may increase access to justice.

30/10

Lexician

Lexician is a blog on how legal practice management can evolve. It discusses the changes in Big Law, its pricing strategies, and organizational behavior & management issues in law practice.

30/10

Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability: Steve Krug, Roger Black: 0029236723101: Amazon.com: Books. This book gives very practical advice to anyone who is trying to design a web-based tool, to make it more usable and intuitive for its visitors. It is a central text on designing for the Internet; it

26/03

How I learned to stop worrying and love project management

Here’s a wonderful post from Jordan Furlong on How I learned to stop worrying and love project management. He lays out some of the advantages of a process-based approach that comes with project management, and how it can improve legal professionals’ work: It’s easy to understand. It’s inexpensive to implement. It lowers costs. It improves

29/10

The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen

Clayton Christensen writes about disruptive technologies, that break open new markets and transform industries. Anyone who is interested in the future of law must read this. Christensen outlines the difference between ventures that are sustaining (staying within the same market, and advancing an established model incrementally) versus disruptive (going outside the market, finding new users

26/10

Marc Lauritsen’s Decision Space

Marc Lauritsen explores how we make legal decisions — particularly in an online environment — and how we can make them better in this article for the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. How can we support lay consumers of law to make choices that are not ad hoc or misinformed? How can we build

18/10

Design for Democracy by Marcia Lausen

Design for Democracy: Ballot & Election Design is a wonderful look at how visual and information design can make for clearer ballots, forms and other interfaces that citizens use to communicate to the government. Marcia Lausen makes a direct connection between how we present information & opportunities, and how empowered lay people are to communicate

17/10

Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie

Orbiting the Giant Hairball may look silly, but it is a genius quick-read on how to be unorthodox within a bureaucratic setting — and how to push change through a large organization.

17/10

Dynamics in Document Design by Karen Schriver

Dynamics in Document Design is a thick & useful book on how to write clearly & technically. It is a nice companion to legal writing texts.  Schriver focuses the writer on being unfalteringly clear in how they communicate to the ‘user’ of their writing. Think of the audience — think what the questions they are

16/10

Tomorrow’s Lawyers, by Richard Susskind

This book does a great job in delineating what kind of professions should be developing in the legal sector — with some amount of particular focus on the UK, but it can easily be transposed to the US’s situation. The question still remains: how to get from today’s system (including legal education & professional tracks)