You don’t often read about legal market innovation in Business Week

Case Study: Access To Justice – Designing a better user experience of the legal system in the Inside Innovation supplement to Business Week (11/27/06) describes an innovative project at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The project is being led long-time leading edge legal tech thinker Prof. Ron Staudt. Its goal is to make courts and legal proceedings more accessible to citizens.

Inspired by the latest corporate approaches to innovation, students went into the field to observe how citizens interact with courts and fill-in forms. They then worked with a team of design students to create a virtual guide (using an avatar) that guides citizens in completing forms and the system. They created easy-to-program and easy-to-use software that several states are now rolling out to provide better access to justice.

BigLaw can learn lessons; lessons that go beyond technology. After all, how many large law firms identify a problem, do field work to study it, and then work with designers to create a solution. This is an approach that law firms should consider adopting to create innovative new services.