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Our legal design research at the Legal Design Virtualtable 2020

Last week the Legal Design Roundtable 2020 - “Legal Design Methodology: A pre-Blueprint” took place online. During 2 days researchers and practitioners in the field of legal design got together to share their experiences from academic research as well as real projects. In this context, we presented our paper “Feasible and accessible psycho-physiological methods for Legal Design” written by Joaquín Santuber, Lina Krawietz, Babajide Owoyele and Jonathan Antonio Edelman in collaboration with the Hasso-Plattner-Institute. Thanks to The conference organizers Rossana Ducato and Alain Strowel from the EITLab at UCLouvain and Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles. Despite the challenging situation the organizers decided to move the conference online — and recall it Legal Design Virtualtable. The first day, April 1st was dedicated to methodological papers and inputs and the second one had a practical note addressing real projects in Legal Design. Overall, it was a fantastic experience and here we share the main takeaways:

1.- Legal Design it’s not just Design Thinking for lawyers. However, there’s still no agreement in the Legal Design community of what we mean when we talk about Legal Design. Some authors referred to LD as Desing Thinking for legal, while others showed a broader notion of Legal Design.

In the presentation of the paper “The four spaces of design practice: drawing from design theory to enhance legal design practice” by Apolline Le Gall and Sumi Saint-Auguste, showed how legal design projects could be carried out by employing four design methodologies: projective design, research design, meaning design and design thinking. In a challenging approach, Emily Allbon (City, University London) and Rae Digby-Morgan questioned in their paper “Is law really that ‘special’?” if the legal field needs a special kind of design (Legal Design) or would the general design be just fine.

2.- The field is quickly expanding from contract redesign and privacy to other topics as shown in the paper “Using service design methods in the redesign of a law degree curriculum” by Michael Doherty from Lancaster University. Another example comes from the paper “Applying legal design in dispute prevention and resolution dispute resolution” by Petra Hietanen-Kunwald and Helena Haapio (University of Vaasa, Lexpert).

3.- Interdisciplinarity is here to stay:

  • Combining law and psychology to redesign privacy icons in the paper “Data Protection and Privacy Icons: A Risk-Based Approach to Visualization of Data Processing Aspects” by Zohar Efroni and Marie Schirmbeck.

  • Using human-computer interaction methodologies and tools to study emotional and cognitive reactions from users of the legal system as proposed in our paper Feasible and accessible psycho-physiological methods for Legal Design” (Santuber et al.).

  • Neuromarketing research methodologies applied to study the effectiveness of gambling online legal warnings with the help of eye-tracking experiments by Jesper Clement, Frederikke Hjort Arentz, Maria José Schmidt-Kessen from the Copenhagen Business School.

  • Applying a mediator’s mindset to facilitate collaboration and creativity in legal design sessions by Marco Imperiale.

4.- Access to Justice remains the biggest topic in Legal Design. This section had the most papers (5). The presentations focused on

  • Operationalizing access to justice and empowerment using interaction design by Petra Hietanen-Kunwald (University of Helsinki) and Maria Claudia Solarte-Vasquez (Aalto University and Taltech).

  • Redesigning immigration-related processes in Italy by Chiara Fioravanti and Francesco Romano

  • How to make the letter of rights in Belgium and Hungary more user-friendly by Florence Cols (Droits Quotidiens)

  • The Constitutional Court in Colombia by Santiago Pardo Rodríguez (Universidad de Los Andes)

  • The civil justice system in Australia and the US by Lois Lupica from the University of Maine School of Law and Genevieve Grant from Monash University.

Last but not least…

5.- Real legal design projects in the private sector are gaining momentum.

  • Legal Design in a Corporate Law Firm by Angela Tang (Slaughter and May)

  • Digital platforms regulations Cynthia Charlier and Jeoffrey Vigneron (Lawgitech)

  • Restoring the function of compliance programs by Marie Potel

  • Legal service design for a bank by Angelica Flechas and Haptica.

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