Why is legal design interesting ?
There is a lot of misunderstanding about the notion of legal design, therefore we are going to try to define its contours.
1. The notion of legal design
What is not legal design ?
Design thinking is not simply the exercise of thinking like a designer, too many people are only focusing on the front-end of design 1. Legal design is not just mixing beautiful colors to create a beautiful presentation.
So what is legal design ?
Legal design is based on a design methodology that uses empathy as a means to force a new perspective2. It stems from an interaction between you and your clients. The objective is to discover the right way to think about the problem.
Legal design can be used in a number of ways such as :
- legal information
- business model
2. The different steps of legal design
5 main steps must be taken :
Empathize : In this phase, the designer must listen to understand the client’s needs. He must observe.
Define : Secondly, they must define and brainstorm the client’s main needs and frustrations.
Ideate : Then, the designer must question and confront the different ways of solving the problems posed. All ideas must be confronted and discussed.
Prototype : Now that the ideas have been laid out, they need to make them a reality. This is where the prototype comes in. In this phase, it is important to be critical of their work and to listen to the different remarks made in order to find the best solution. This is an experimental phase.
Test : This test phase will allow the prototype to be improved in order to propose a more suitable solution to the problem.
3. Tools for legal design
- Google forms, Typeform, Office forms : In order to collect the customer’s information and understand their request.
- Miro, trello, asana, Clickup : To brainstorm and compare ideas.
- Canva, Word, Power point : To shape the ideas, to create a prototype and to test. Adobe and Inkscape to use legal design such as a professional.
4. What can legal design do for your business?
● Development of new products and services and improvement of the customer relationship
In the early days of e-commerce, many startups usually had a functional website but the user experience was not very useful. It was not a problem back then because there was less competition than today.
Today, you can’t consider that offering a good product is enough because of the competition. The same can be said about the field of law: “you cannot assume that your knowledge is sufficient to solve someone else’s problem” 2, because someone else with the same level of knowledge can do the same thing.
Therefore, legal design is leading to a new generation of legal products and services, more focused on the needs of the client and less on the strict legal answer.
● Best communication of information
If you look around, you will notice that most legal documents and processes are not designed at all. They are just made to meet legal requirements but not to be easily understood. Here is an example of before and after applying design thinking :
To conclude, there is a huge potential in legal design. It is in the best interest of lawyers to be made aware of and trained in this area. The multiplication of projects and actors in legal design demonstrates the dynamism and growing interest in this discipline, however, many lawyers still don’t know what legal design is and what it can bring to their business. There are already some legal design courses run by universities, but not enough. Yet, tomorrow, legal design will probably be a soft skill sought by recruiters.
By Diane Lechevranton