• thisislegaldesign

Our 5 learnings & thoughts on the Legal Design Summit 2019

Updated: Mar 2

The Legal Design Summit 2019 in Helsinki, Finland is over and it was a blast. (Apparently we were so blown away that it took us a month to write a recap on it).

As many of you might have already read the reports of other attendees or even attended the event yourself, this shall not be another recap of events. (The short version: interesting key notes, case studies and impulses by pretty much all known Legal Design experts).

However, we had some learnings and thoughts deriving from the Summit that we felt were worth sharing with you:

#1 Collaboration over single fighters

Being at the Summit almost feels like a giant family event. This is not only due to the fact that the Legal Design scene still is small enough to have a general overview of the players in the field. It’s also based on a set of values that legal designers (at least attempt to) hold up and live by. One of the most important ones is a collaboration mindset. While it is in the nature of being a service provider that we often happen to be competitors, it shall still not be forgotten that only a strong network and collaboration will help establish the discipline of Legal Design among the law sector. A common goal that we all share.

#2 How to convince?

Feeling convinced and reassured of what you are doing with Legal Design is pretty easy when you are surrounded by like minded people who happen to provide similar services and share the same ideas as you on Legal Innovation. Let’s not forget that these surroundings are a bubble. A very comfortable one. So we couldn’t help but wonder of how to convince others? A user-centered approach to innovation is great. But how to convince stakeholders with other interests than the user’s? A question that often arises in our projects and that we have not been able to answer sufficiently.

#3 Let’s talk about struggles

This leads to a third thought on the Summit: Let’s talk about our struggles and challenges more. The comfortable bubble of like minded legal designers can serve a bigger purpose if we start being really honest about our challenges. How do you deal with idea killers in your workshop? What is your approach to bring into balance different stakeholder interests? How do you build up a trustful relationship over a highly confidential matter? Just a few questions that would be interesting to discuss in our bubble.

#4 Legal Design comes in many shades

We are often asked to give a definition of Legal Design. That is not easy as many of you know but with a set of examples people start understanding what the core idea is. However, it seems like we don’t always manage to give the full picture. When we talk about Legal Design, too often we end up naming the exact same examples that happen to come from the visual information design sector. While the visual redesign will often be a part of user-centered design, Legal Design plays a role on more levels than that and comes in different shades. Maybe we need to dare sharing our case studies more in order to give the bigger picture?

#5 Legal Designers can party

Ok, there is no professional context in that thought. But it is very true. The Summit’s after party at Dottir was a real blast and rumor has it that some people (we will not name specifically) ended up at a Finnish Karaoke bar.


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