Law + Design = Summit

What would a human-centered legal system look like? A summit hosted at the Stanford Legal Design Lab sought answers to that question and more.

The first Law + Design Summit at Stanford, held September 22, brought together lawyers, judges, designers, engineers, researchers, businesspeople, and entrepreneurs to explore how to use a design approach to improve how the legal system operates.

Keynote speaker Richard Buchanan, a pioneer in identifying how design can be applied to “wicked, systematic problems,” spoke about the power of design and how to think creatively when changing entrenched problems. Buchanan, currently a professor at the University of Chicago, previously worked on redesigning the Australian tax system to benefit end users.

Law + Design = Summit 2
Drawing legal ideas.

Spotlight speakers presented case studies for the group to explore: “Our spotlight speakers talked to the group about their own experiment —to predict when people might have a legal problem before they know it themselves, to make divorce efficient and holistic, to make privacy policies engaging.

“These case studies are meant to help lawyers think analogously — what can they do in their organizations, to be more user-friendly, and more effective?” said Director of the Legal Design Lab and lecturer at Stanford Institute of Design (the Margaret Hagan.

Stanford Law School Professor Jay Mitchell spoke on a panel about “Designing for the Client of the Future.” He highlighted some of the ways lawyers can incorporate design thinking, including, amongst other ideas, drawing out problems to get a better perspective on an issue.

“The heart of a lawyer’s value is at the intersection of being methodical and creative,” he said.

View a recap and photos from the event on Twitter.

Read a detailed recap of the event on Medium.

About the Legal Design Lab

The Legal Design Lab (formerly the Program for Legal Technology and Design) was founded in Fall 2013 to bring designers, lawyers and technologists together to advance legal innovation and access to justice.

The Legal Design Lab runs workshops and teaches classes, creates concept designs for new legal products and services, and builds them out with agile, design-driven teams, and publishes research process, findings, and  finished products, to contribute to a wider knowledge base and community. The Legal Design Lab is currently based out of Stanford Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession and Stanford University’s Institute of Design (

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.