David Howarth on Law as Engineering at ReInvent Law NYC. (Live post – forgive errors.)

What is that lawyers do? Public thinks it is litigation.  In UK, 80% of lawyers are not involved in litigation. Lawyers create documents that are useful to their clients. They create “artificial social structures”.

Design is at the hear of the concept?  But why engineering?  It is closest to how it is that lawyers act as designers. Law and engineering are both about making things change. Law changes the social world for the client.

Engineers and lawyers both have design processes.  But former have been thinking about PROCESS of design for much longer. Lawyers are now beginning to do so.

We can learn from engineers that seeming disruptions are not as disruptive as they initially seem. They have used CAD/CAM for decades. It reduced some jobs initially but now there are many CAD operators. It released a burst of new creating. It let engineers test more new ideas and get closer to what clients wanted.

The new technologies in legal can do the same. Lawyers can be freed from detailed minutiae to focus on creating new value for clients.

Lawyers need to learn the moral lesson that engineers learned: artifacts they make can cause harm. Look at 2008 financial crisis: lawyers created devices that caused problems.  With law as a design profession, must take responsibility for their design as do other designers.