"I think that within design thinking, there's design feeling and lots of design doing!"

Viveca Fallenius, founder of Gentle Rev

 
Image by Jess Bailey

WHAT'S LEGAL DESIGN ANYWAY?

Gentle Rev's FAQ

 

WHAT IS DESIGN THINKING?

Design thinking is a process for creative problem solving, with a focus on empathy for the user. It can be used to solve any problem. Think of it like a toolkit with exercises, mindsets and a process. We love the method because it uses empathy as a catalyst for creativity and change. With design thinking, you can make sure you and your company have a positive impact on society and you can improve the wellbeing of your employees.

WHAT IS LEGAL DESIGN?

When design thinking is applied in the field of law, we talk about legal design. It is a tool to make the legal sector more humane, accessible and user-friendly. The user can be anyone, like a client who needs advice, an overworked lawyer or an app user struggling to understand the terms of service.

It is a burgeoning area in the intersection of law and innovation and it has quickly gained traction.

Gentle Rev provides workshops and inspirational events on legal design for law firms, legal departments and students.

WHY IS DIVERSITY A THING IN LEGAL DESIGN?

Diversity plus creativity - that's where you find magic! Because the design process is about coming up with new ideas, a group of like-minded lawyers won't do the trick. Instead, invite in your uncle and the new assistant to the brainstorming session. Basically, you need different perspectives to get the conversation going and generate ideas. Harvard Business Review explains that diverse teams are smarter and more innovative than homogenous teams. Let's not argue with them. 

CAN ANYONE BE CREATIVE?

Yes! Everyone has the capacity to be creative. Often though there is little time for creativity in our lives and we lost touch with that inner child who cares less about what other people might think. The legal design process takes care of that by using a bunch of exercises that reinvigorates our creative confidence. 
So yes, anyone, even lawyers, can be creative! I'm a living proof.

WHAT'S THE LINK BETWEEN DESIGN AND LEGAL TECH?

Legal design helps make a legal tech product truly relevant for the user. It is about more than the user interface and graphic design. Instead, it is about the essence of the product and it makes sure you really know the needs of the user before launching a product.

WHAT'S THE MAGIC OF LEGAL DESIGN?

We like to talk about the magic of legal design. Here are some example of what it can lead to:

  • Customers feel empowered, safe and respected.

  • Customers are attracted to and trust your brand when you are transparent. 

  • Customers don't feel anxious and powerless when signing agreements they understand.

  • If you are a lawyer, your relationship to your clients will improve.

  • Client acquisition is easier when you've learnt how to skip the legal jargon.

CAN YOU GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF LEGAL DESIGN?

Sure! We all know the feeling of having to sign a contract we don't understand. So imagine turning that totally unreadable text into something you or your users/customers can actually understand, with easy words and explanations. Feel the goose bumps? Or imagine you can create a workplace where lawyers thrive (instead of stressing) by changing the routines. Or, if you work with legal tech, adding the magic of legal design will make sure the users need and love your product.

ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS OF LEGAL DESIGN?

Oh yes! The design thinking process helps you cultivate power skills like empathy, listening, collaboration, creativity and adopting a growth mindset. These skills are vital if we want to redesign our lives and our society. Design thinking may in fact, through its own generative power, influence your life and business in many ways. Also, letting empathy serve as a catalyst for creativity and change is just a beautiful thing in a world suffering from a severe lack of empathy.

WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT LEGAL DESIGN?

One of the reasons we love design thinking is that it is an efficient way to make meaningful change. Traditionally, the legal sector is slow when it comes to embracing change, often the last ones to the party (phone and emails were first seen with suspicion). As a result, a lot of practices that have stayed in place only serve a few (billing per hour, all nighters, contracts that only lawyers understand...). Legal design is the chance to make meaningful change so that the people and business can really thrive.

WHAT'S UP WITH EMPATHY?

We talk a lot about empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Empathy is key when it comes to creativity in the design thinking process. It's because you need to truly understand the feelings of the user to find a desirable solution. It's about putting yourself in his or her shoes and imagining what they really want. So in a way there's a lot of design feeling going on!

WHO BENEFITS FROM LEGAL DESIGN?

Design thinking is human-centered meaning it is designed with empathy for a user. Who exactly benefits from the legal design depends on who you choose as what we call "the user". It could be the lawyer or a lay person like the clients of a law firm or a person charged with a crime. It can pretty much be anyone in the legal field.

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