Policy Practicum: Prototyping Access to Justice


Course Code:
LAW 805S
Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail


(Formerly Law 415F) Why don't government — and especially legal — systems work for people? The legal system can be confusing, expensive, and exhausting for people seeking civil legal help. And worse, people have to use it when they are facing some of the worst moments of their life: when they're getting divorced, getting evicted from their home, having been fired from their job, or facing bankruptcy. It's a system meant to help people solve their problems, but it doesn't work for most people. Thousands of Californians who can't afford a lawyer try to use the system on their own, but they can't do so correctly or efficiently. Some courts, responding to this crisis, have made user experience a priority. They are trying to figure out how to empower people to navigate court wisely, on their own. In this class, we will partner with local California courts to prototype and pilot new ways to make the legal system serve people without lawyers. Our focus will be on implementation and evaluation of new designs. We aim to deliver projects to the courts that they can pilot immediately. We will draw on a bank of ideas and research from earlier Policy Labs to jumpstart our work. Students will work on teams to build robust prototypes of new visual, product, and service designs, and then test them on site in the courts. They will evaluate which designs can make the legal system more human, more comprehensible, and more supportive to people. They will deliver these prototypes, along with service design maps, key user insights, and testing results to the court, in order to spur on changes in the system. We encourage applications from students with an interest in how design can be used to enhance social justice and dignity, and those who are interested in tackling complex systems challenges. Elements used in grading: Class Participation, Attendance, Written Assignments. NOTE: Students may not count more than a combined total of eight units of directed research projects and policy lab practica toward graduation unless the additional counted units are approved in advance by the Petitions Committee. Such approval will be granted only for good cause shown. Even in the case of a successful petition for additional units, a student cannot receive a letter grade for more than eight units of independent research (Policy Lab practicum, Directed Research, Senior Thesis, and/or Research Track). Any units taken in excess of eight will be graded on a mandatory pass basis. For detailed information, see "Directed Research/Policy Labs" in the SLS Student Handbook. CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and submit a Consent Application Form available on the SLS website (Click Courses at the bottom of the homepage and then click Consent of Instructor Forms). See Consent Application Form for instructions and submission deadline.

Past Offerings

2016-2017 Winter

Policy Practicum: Prototyping Access to Justice LAW 805S Section 01 Class #33768

  • 2 Units
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent 16

Notes: Law Unit Limitation.

2015-2016 Spring

Policy Practicum: Prototyping Access to Justice: Legal Service Design in Courts' Self-Help Centers LAW 415F Section 01 Class #58537

  • 1 2 Units

Notes: Law Unit Limitation.

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