Legal Design Summit 2019—What can lawyers learn from designers?

The Legal Design Summit in Helsinki is the world's biggest event at the intersection of law and design. Methodologies established in design and other disciplines can provide a valuable lever for lawyers to create or improve existing human- and customer-centered solutions and delivery formats. These solutions can equally be used to make law accessible, both to people who traditionally have poor access to law and as legal understanding in business.

Why do we think Legal Design makes a difference?

We often hear that "legal documents" are difficult to understand, that people fear starting projects because they do not know which legal requirements apply—or how to address them. This is a real issue as law is an essential platform* for business and the whole of society to thrive*.

While the images may make non-participants think that it's a "hip" topic, that's not the focus: it is important to identify what the users need and to create it with them* (or else the creators may be liable to misjudge the needs). We can thereby create win-win situations* instead of the current "zero-sum games" (which is the traditional approach, meaning that if one party wins, another needs to lose). To achieve that, we can include psychological findings* and rely on a strengthened understanding of customer needs*. Combined with applying better learning mechanisms, such as, e.g., black box thinking* inspired by aviation, we can make legal activities more effective*.

For that purpose, it is essential to work with users and to test the lawyers' assumptions. The process is iterative: we are never good enough to stand still. On the way, we learn which patterns prove successful, and we can create an ever-growing set of powerful blueprints.

As a side note: we had (and heard other people have) discussions about the rule of law. It seems to be endangered world-wide and our society is not immune either. This gives us a strong push to address the issues the legal system faces, irrespective of our current business needs.

How we are using Legal Design Thinking?

At fingolex we are using methodologies such as design thinking to refine in which fields offerings are created and to improve delivery of legal services in existing domains. We are currently running a project to identify fields in which managed services offerings could prove most useful. We are investigating new approaches of alignment in matter work, such as packaged offerings and graphical status overviews as well as concrete improved offers in legal fields such as privacy. We are happy to discuss with you to better understand your business and needs. In general, we do this in form of a partially pre-structured customer interview.

Why that? Because we really want to get this right and that's a matter of bi-directional learning, us learning more about customer needs and understanding and customers learning more about the law and legal requirements.

* All links marked with an asterisk are links to tweets sent from the participants of the conference. They will open in a new window.