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The Year of Design in Legal

Apple products sell for a premium because of their design. Solving Problems for Real World, Using Design in the New York Times today drives home the importance of design.

D.school at Stanford teaches that the way to come up with new designs is to  “focus on people”.  It works: students “have developed original ways to tackle infant mortality, unreliable electricity and malnutrition in the third world, as well as clubfoot.”

The article is fun and makes me think about how  large law firms can improve service delivery. One sentence stands out:

“The school challenges students to create, tinker and relentlessly test possible solutions on their users — and to repeat that cycle as many times as it takes — until they come up with solutions that people will actually use.”

Few law firms seem to have the mindset to tinker, test, and seek feedback about their service delivery.  Perhaps that’s the other side of the coin of having no formal R&D.

I need time to think about ways firms could use this approach.  So for me, 2014 will the the year of design in legal.

Because design drives so much value, I am glad to attend ReInvent Law NYC on February 7, 204 (free, registration required). It’s presented by Michigan State University College of Law. ReInvent Law believes

“lawyers can change the world, but first we must change ourselves. It is time to ReInvent. The markets for legal services and legal education are in serious peril. But there is a way forward, our four pillars of innovation for the legal services industry: {Law+Tech+Design+Delivery}”

I emphasized “design”.  I know from attending ReInvent Law Silicon Valley last March that design is a central theme.

I hope to see you on Feb 7.  I also present; my topic: Do Less Law”.  Now I just have to work design into my talk!

  1. Patrick DiDomenico Reply

    Great post, Ron.

    I’m a big believer in good design and agree that it will start to get more attention from more law firms in the coming year. Law firms need to start thinking more like great consumer products companies, like Apple, because consumers of legal service are starting to demand the types of great experiences that they have when using consumer products. As I mentioned once in a presentation about user experience design, the iPhone was the beginning of the end for bad UX design, and the iPad put the final nail in the coffin. Good design also helps internal users of law firm applications be more efficient and productive.

    I’m looking forward to your Reinvent Law presentation.

    -Patrick

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