Legal Design Lab

The Legal Design Lab is an interdisciplinary team based at Stanford Law School &, building a new generation of legal products & services.

We use human-centered design and agile development methodology to design new solutions for legal services. We do exploratory design work and empirical research to reimagine how the legal system could work.

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Projects we're working on

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We built the post-disaster legal help app Flood Proof, in partnership with Louisiana legal services groups, community foundations, and the ABA Center for Innovation. The app helps people after a natural disaster to start the process of ‘clearing title’ to their house.

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We have built Wise Messenger, an out-of-the-box tool to let any court or legal service provider send text messages with info, reminders, and coaching to people going through the legal system. We are currently piloting this system and running controlled trials about its outcomes.

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We have built a platform to create and publish better guides to legal processes, with visual and interactive triage & process-guides. It is particularly to support Pro Bono lawyers, so they can easily learn how to represent clients in an unfamiliar area of law.

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Our research has identified the need for better Search Results for people seeking out legal help online. We have brought together a stakeholder group and are developing shared protocols and tech strategies to improve how search engines find and deliver legal help information.

Visual Guides

We are creating fliers and posters that use visuals to explain how to navigate complicated court processes. We design them in partnership with courts and judges.

We have worked with Alameda County Courts to make guides for people facing traffic tickets, to help people protect their rights and avoid financial burdens.

We are working with Lansing, Michigan courts to create visual resources for people facing evictions, to prepare for their court hearing.

See more
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In September 2017, our Lab is hosted the one-day Law + Design Summit on how a design approach might improve the legal system. It will spotlight people already working on creative, user-centered ways to reimagine legal services and processes. And we will have a workshop to lay out new strategies for going forward.

The Summit was invitation-only and free. Please see the full schedule and details here. Find a write-up of the big takeaways of the event here, at our Medium publication Legal Design + Innovation.

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In addition to our courses for students, the Legal Design Lab also works with legal organizations to train them on design thinking, scope new initiatives, conduct user testing, and plan how to bring innovation into their organization.

We hold these workshops on Stanford campus, at the Law School and the, and on-site at organizations and conferences.

Some of our past workshops include:

  • Service Design: Working with state courts to plan how they can better present language access materials, or serve self-represented litigants
  • Culture Change: Helping a law firm plan for diversity and inclusion among their associates and partners
  • Design Thinking: Coaching lawyers in the design process — for example, coaching law firm lawyers on how to use design thinking to advise  their clients on a business problem in their legal department
  • Visual Design: Training lawyers on the essentials of visual design, and how to apply it in their presentations, writings, and arguments
  • Innovation Strategy: Planning how to launch an innovation and design lab inside of a law firm
  • User Testing: Evaluating a current app, website, or service offered by the government with its target users, and then having a co-design session to create new versions
  • Exploratory Sessions: Bringing together a wide range of stakeholders who are all involved in a system, to prioritize an agenda of challenges to tackle, and identify a shortlist of new solutions to pilot

We run custom presentations and workshops for courts, law firms, legal departments, legal aid groups, government agencies, and foundations. Please be in touch if you are interested in a workshop.

In addition, we hold Innovation Sprints at our Lab each quarter. In these Sprints, we train teams on user-centered design process, and help the teams to scope, prototype, and plan for testing of a challenge they have brought. If your team would like to attend an upcoming Sprint, please write.

Write to us

The Legal Design Lab Team

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Margaret Hagan is the Director of the Legal Design Lab. She is a lawyer with a JD from Stanford Law ('13), and a PhD in International Politics from Queen's University Belfast.

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Jane Wong is the Legal Design Lab Post-JD Fellow for 2017-18. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School. She will work on access to justice innovations in the Bay Area.

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Tom Davidson is a Student Fellow at the Lab. He is a 2nd year law student with a background in legal operations and management consulting.

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Emma Eastwood-Paticchio is a Student Fellow at the Lab. She is a 2nd year law student, with experience using public records data, machine learning and natural language processing.

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Sabina Beleuz Neagu is a Student Fellow. She is an undergraduate student at Stanford, studying Artificial Intelligence in the Symbolic Systems Program.

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Jose Fernando Torres was the Lab's Post-JD Fellow for 2016-17. He is a lawyer, originally from Colombia, who is working on new modes of online dispute resolution.

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Kevin Xu was a student fellow at the Lab from 2015-2017. He is a Stanford Law School graduate, and founder of the legal startup Ask Hilbert.

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Jessica Hudak was a Lab student fellow from 2015-16. She worked on our New Models of Law Firm Innovation project.

Legal Design and Innovation

Read our Medium publication Legal Design & Innovation. In it, we write up documentation of our design and development work. We also profile lawyers and technologists doing interesting work in improving legal services.