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What is Legal Design? Definition

What is Legal Design? Definition

The legal design movement is a relatively new one, but it’s growing rapidly. So what is legal design? And how can it help you in your law practice? Essentially, legal design is the application of design principles to the practice of law. By using design thinking, lawyers can create solutions that are user-friendly, efficient, and effective. In a world where clients are increasingly expecting more from their attorneys, legal design can give you the edge you need to stand out. If you’re interested in learning more about this cutting-edge field, read on for a comprehensive guide to all things legal design.

What is Legal Design?

Legal design is the application of design principles and methods to create more user-friendly legal products and services. It is an emerging field that combines the skills of designers, lawyers, and other professionals to improve the accessibility, affordability, and quality of legal services.

The goal of legal design is to make the law more understandable and effective for everyone, not just those with expensive lawyers or law degrees. By making the law more user-friendly, it can empower individuals and communities to take control of their own legal problems and find solutions that work for them.

Some examples of legal design projects include redesigning court forms so they are easier to understand, developing online tools to help people navigate the immigration system, or creating visual diagrams of complex legal concepts.

There is a growing movement of legal design practitioners around the world who are working to use design principles to improve the law. If you are interested in learning more about legal design or getting involved in this growing community, there are many resources available online.

The Origins of Legal Design

Legal design is a relatively new field that applies the principles of design to the practice of law. The goal of legal design is to make legal services more user-friendly and accessible to the public.

The origins of legal design can be traced back to the early 2000s, when a group of Finnish lawyers started using design thinking to solve problems in the legal sector. This work was later popularized by Mika Rautiainen, a lawyer and author who is considered one of the pioneers of legal design.

In recent years, legal design has gained traction in other countries as well. In Australia, for example, Legal Design Lab is working on projects such as an online platform that helps people understand their consumer rights.

There is still much work to be done in terms of making the law more user-friendly and accessible. However, with the help of legal designers around the world, it is possible to create a better future for everyone involved in the legal system.

The Principles of Legal Design

In order to create efficient and effective legal solutions, designers must understand the principles of legal design. These principles include:

1. Creating a user-centered design: The first step in any legal design project is to understand the needs of the users. What are their goals? What are their pain points? How can the designer help them achieve their objectives?

2. Applying design thinking: Once the users’ needs have been understood, the designer must apply design thinking to create a solution that meets those needs. This means using creativity and empathy to come up with innovative ideas that solve problems in new ways.

3. Simplifying complexity: One of the challenges of designing for the legal sector is simplifying complex information so that it is easy for users to understand. This includes breaking down information into manageable chunks, using clear and concise language, and employing visual aids such as infographics where appropriate.

4. Developing a prototype: A prototype is a test version of a product or service that allows designers to gather feedback from users before launching the final version. This helps to ensure that the final product meets the needs of its users and avoids potential problems further down the line.

5. Testing and iterating: Testing is essential in any design process, but it is especially important when designing for the legal sector. This allows designers to identify any areas where improvements can be made before launching the final product or service.

How Can Legal Design Be Used?

Legal design is a process for improving the clarity, usability, and effectiveness of legal products and services. It draws on techniques from the fields of user experience design, service design, and persuasive design.

Legal design can be used to improve the clarity of legal documents, make complex legal processes more user-friendly, and develop more effective strategies for communicating with clients or the public. For example, legal design can be used to create clear and concise contracts that are easy to understand, redesign confusing website forms so that users can easily find the information they need, or develop educational materials that help people navigate the justice system.

Legal design is still a relatively new field, and there is much room for exploration and experimentation. As more designers become interested in working with lawyers and law firms to improve the quality of legal products and services, we are likely to see even more innovative applications of legal design.

Case Studies of Legal Design in Action

There are many ways to put legal design into practice. The following are three case studies of how different organizations have used legal design principles to create more user-friendly, efficient, and effective legal services.

1. The US Department of Veterans Affairs created a online toolkit to help veterans navigate the process of filing for disability benefits. The kit includes step-by-step instructions, interactive forms, and clear explanations of the eligibility requirements and benefits available.

2. Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit that provides resources and support to the pro bono community, developed an online platform called JusticeConnect that helps connect lawyers with pro bono opportunities. JusticeConnect streamlines the process of finding and applying for pro bono projects, making it easier for lawyers to get involved in pro bono work.

3. The Legal Services Corporation, the largest funder of civil legal aid in the United States, launched a project called LawHelp Interactive that provides self-help tools for people who cannot afford a lawyer. LawHelp Interactive features interactive forms and videos that guide users through commonlegal problems such as creating a will or starting a small business.


Legal design is a rapidly growing field that applies design principles to the practice of law. By using design thinking, legal designers can create user-friendly legal documents and processes that are more efficient and effective. If you’re interested in exploring this exciting new field, check out our resources on legal design.