Blog of Design for Justice

Class Updates and Work

We’ll be posting up blogs from our classes with highlights of our research, analysis, and design work.

  • Brainstorming new Language Access self help ideas
    Brainstorming Potential Solutions (Week 3) By Sahil Chopra Having experienced the court first hand, we returned to the classroom to revisit the tenets of Design Thinking and coalesce our thoughts, before engaging in a productive, rapid-brainstorming session. Here’s a quick reminder of 5 “tenets” behind the design philosophies that drove our brainstorming: There is no “one perfect idea”. In fact, …
  • Observing a county court for language access
    Initial Observations at the Santa Clara Family Justice Center (Week 2) By Sahil Chopra During our second week of the course, we paid our first visit to the Santa Clara Family Justice Center in order to observe, explore, and immerse ourselves in the court experience. Our day at court was structured around exploring the self-help facilities before branching out into …
  • A Design Prototype for Policy canvas
    For our Design for Justice: Language Access class, our teaching team made a canvas to help a design team craft a forward plan for the projects they have been working on to advance language access in the courts through technology. The canvas can be useful to have a one-page hand-off for a policy partner to understand what the team is …
  • Identifying A Single Prototype for language access improvement
    By Sahil Chopra (Part of a series of posts documenting the Design for Justice: Language Access class) Entering home stretch of the Autumn quarter, we spent today’s class first synthesizing our findings and working on our final pitch to the California Judicial Council and then selecting one of our prototypes for further development. To start the the synthesis process, we …
  • Design for Justice: Language Access — an introduction in week 1
    by Sahil Chopra Language is the medium by which we interact with culture, express our ideas, and maintain our rights. Without “language access”, i.e. the ability to convey one’s thoughts effectively and understand others correctly, one is disempowered altogether. At a societal level this can lead to systemic inequality, whether intentional or not; and one of the places where this …
  • How graphic design helps us navigate buildings
    This 99 Design article by Alex Bigman gives a photo tour of wayfinding designs from hospitals, airports, and other government buildings. If it weren’t for graphic design, you’d have a lot more trouble finding the restroom. Office buildings, museums and libraries would also become virtually impossible to navigate. And garages? Don’t even bother trying to remember where you parked. Though …
  • Access to Justice for People Who Do Not Speak English
    This article by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard of Indiana describes what justice issues arise out of language access problems in state courts.
  • The evolution of an eviction self-help website
    by Margaret Hagan, also published at Legal Design and Innovation Along with Daniel Bernal, I’ve been teaching a Stanford d.school pop-up class, Design for Justice: Eviction. We’ve been working with a team of 10 students and a network of experts, legal aid groups, and courts, to plan out new ways to support people who have received eviction notices. Design for Justice: Eviction …
  • Eviction design class
    In late April 2018, Daniel Bernal and Margaret Hagan taught the first part of the d.school pop-up Design For Justice: Eviction. The class focused on how we might better empower people who have received eviction notices (specifically, in Arizona) to know their rights, their options, and to go to court to fight eviction. In the class, our 2 teams focused …
  • Talking with the Public Policy Lab about design and government innovation
    This quarter, I’m co-teaching a class, Community-Led System Design with Janet Martinez at Stanford Law School/d.school. We are bringing various innovators who are doing human-centered design work in government and legal systems. We, and our students, will be documenting what we learn during this class from our guest speakers and our own work. The Public Policy Lab team presenting at the d.school Our …
  • The Rise of Design in Policymaking: In conversation with Verena Kontschieder
    By Ayushi Vig, This was originally posted in our Medium publication Legal Design and Innovation In Community-Led System Design, a Stanford Law School/d.school course this quarter, we are speaking with people working on systems- and policy-design projects, from a human-centered design perspective. One of our guests was Verena Kontschieder, a visiting research student at the Center for Design Research.   Verena at our class Verena’s …
  • TSA Feedback service design at Dulles Airport
    More analogous learning from airports, this time from Dulles — and all their feedback prompts and props right around the security experience. These are all posted around the TSA, for people who have just gone through their pre-flight screening, to get feedback on the experience.
  • Service Help Centers in airports, based in JFK Delta airport terminal
    I have been scouting out service design inspirations, particularly from airports, that courts could use. This one is from JFK airport, in the Delta terminal. I was very impressed with their service design. They had taken over an entire gate with a help center that had all kinds of touchpoints: paper, phone terminals, people, kiosks. There were multiple entry points …
  • Before Small Claims Court prep app
    A team from Justice Design at Osgoode Law’s Winkler Institute developed a prototype of an app that could prep people for small claims court, and take care of issues directly. Going to small claims court can be nerve racking, costly and time consuming. #B4 Small claims is an online dispute resolution app that will help people resolve claims of under …
  • Law Speak: language access app for small claims
    Osgoode Law School’s Justice Design program created a prototype for Law Speak, a tool for people going through the small claims process who are not fluent in the dominant language. LawSpeak empowers those who may not speak English as a primary language to navigate the small claims court process. This app translates documents, keeps them in one place and provide …
  • Legal Go augmented reality legal ed game
    A team from the Winkler Institute’s Justice Design 2016 class created a game Legal Go, inspired by Pokemon Go, but for learning law. It’s a way to train lay people on what the legal system is and how it works, through a mixture of in-person adventures and on-the-phone characters, challenges, and rewards. Their description: Inspired by the Pokémon Go phenomenon, …
  • Trends in Courthouse Design : a profile of new space designs
    The National Center for State Courts has a 2004 article from Don Hardenbergh, president of Courtworks, on Trends in Courthouse Design :: Courthouse Facilities. In the article, Hardenbergh profiles the move to use the space of courts to make the judicial system more accessible, navigable, and open to the public. It is because of the increasing focus on service design …
  • East Bay Stand Down: coordinated services for at-risk veterans
    East Bay Stand Down is a project offered in California in which at-risk and homeless military veterans can access all kinds of service help over four days. It includes medical and dental care, housing, driver’s licenses, court services, hygiene, and more.
  • Houston.ai access AI
    Legal Server has a project Houston.AI, a new set of tools that allows for smarter intake of people, finding of their issues, and referring them to the right support. What? Houston.AI is a web-based platform designed to help non-profit legal aid agencies more effectively serve those who cannot afford attorneys. Comprised of a series of micro-services leveraging machine learning, artificial …
  • Pro Bono matching websites
    Florida Pro Bono Matters is a website that allows for matching volunteer lawyers with cases. It allows for legal aid groups to easily post cases from their case management system, to then be easily found, filtered, adn signed up for by lawyers.
  • Robot Lawyer expert chat bot
    The Robot Lawyeris a chatbot made to let people get legal options and screening — and even fill in documents by chatting through a messenger interface on a website. It has been applied to traffic tickets, refugee asylum applications, and homeless benefits.
  • Online training for pro bono work
    The Pro Bono Training Institute in LA offers online training modules to prep lawyer volunteers to do good work as they volunteer to provide legal help. They developed these modules with OneJustice, with funding from the LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund.
  • Hospital map app
    An Ohio hospital has created an internal navigation system through a mapping app. It lets anyone find their doctor or destination by putting it into the app, and getting step by step directions about where to go. Mercy Health’s Jewish Hospital has created a customized mapping system to help patients or visitors find their way around the Kenwood facility. The …
  • User journey through Housing Court
    In our classes, we map out different users’ journeys through the court. This is one of the Northeastern University student teams’ map, that abstracts different users’ journey through housing court in Boston.
  • Wayfinding signs with language access from hospitals
    These were sent from a Kaiser Health facility in California as examples that a court could possibly follow.
  • DocuBot for filling in forms through SMS
    DocuBot is a tool to fill in legal documents and other forms through an SMS or other chatbot-like experience. The bot asks questions to fill in the form. Here is more information from its creator, 1Law. 1LAW is proud to announce the creation of Docubot™, a legal document generating artificial intelligence. In conjunction with some of the best lawyers in …
  • Final report from Prototyping Access to Justice: 7 prototypes to make courts more user-friendly
    Last Friday was the final class in the Stanford Law School/d.school class Prototyping Access to Justice. Kursat Ozenc and I were teaching the course as a practical, service design effort. The big question guiding the work: if hundreds of thousands of Californians go to the courts to deal with their divorce, child custody, debt, and housing problems — how can we make …
  • Public feedback report displays in courts
    I took a photograph of this display in London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5. It is a very public display of the customer feedback for the airport. It has the results of surveys for different factors of the airport experience, displayed right on the monitors that show flight times and other important information.
  • Drawing of a Housing Court waiting room
    A sketch from my notebook, while I was observing a waiting room in a Court Service center in Boston, for people who were waiting for help with housing cases.
  • Redesigning Summons Forms to be clearer and more supportive
    What should a paper-based warning or order look like, to make it actionable and clear for people? Ideas42 worked with the New York City government to create new designs of the Summons document that people get for criminal court cases. Read more about it at Ideas42 page. This change in the document accompanies more systemic changes. THE PLAN Steps to ensure …
  • CAIR Chicago’s Travelers Assistance Program
    CAIR Chicago has sponsored a new initiative to mobilize legal help and interpreters (as well as knowledge) for people at risk of civil rights violation or immigration problems. Their Travelers Assistance Project was launched to give travelers alerts, assemble an Attorney Corps, and an Interpreters Corps. T.A.P CAIR-Chicago’s Traveler’s Assistance Project, a first of its kind nationally, created to help travelers secure …
  • Dulles Justice Coalition: rapid response pro bono network
    Dulles Justice Coalition is a grassroots organization in the DC area, in which lawyers have come together to provide help to immigrants. Specifically, it arose after the January Executive Order that upset the travel plans and border-crossings of refugees and people from Muslim-majority countries. They formed as an impromptu group and also stood up a website to take in requests for …
  • Designing a more user-friendly legal system: notes from the field
    Today we held our Prototyping Access to Justice class on-site at San Mateo County court house, specifically in and around the Self-Help Center and Family Law Facilitator. The six student teams are all at the point where they have working prototypes that they want to test. They each have hypotheses about how they can make the legal system better for …
  • Know Your Rights App, Carteirada do Bem
    One of my Brazilian students in my Prototyping Access to Justice class alerted me to a very cool app in Brazil, all about empowering people about their legal rights. It’s called Carteirada do Bem. It’s a native app (on Android) and (on ioS) + a website. It is put out by the assembly of Rio di Janeiro. It is an …
  • The Prototype Journey, from post it to wizard of oz
    In our Prototyping Access to Justice class, Kursat Ozenc and I are leading student teams to get quickly from speculating about how the courts could be improved to implementing new concepts. In our class today, in week 3 of the course, we had the students make some more progress along the Journey of Prototypes. The journey metaphor is useful to …
  • Legal Document Responder App
    Could we build an application that would let a person, who receives a legal document or government document in the mail to: Scan it in, either through a mobile-photo-scanner, or a QR code on the document that makes it easy to capture into the app Figure out what the document says, in jargon-free language. It also would help you understand …
  • Summary of Spring 2016 class findings on Self Help Centers
    In Spring 2016, Margaret Hagan and Janet Martinez taught a course at Stanford Law School, through the Policy Lab program, called Prototyping Access to Justice: Designing New Legal Services for Self-Help (see the official class description on Stanford Law’s site here). In partnership with the California Judicial Council and Self-Help Centers in San Mateo and Santa Clara County, we ran …
  • Creative research reels
    Court user experience can be heavy sometimes due to the entangled nature of court use cases and structures. This past week, our course participants took that challenge and conducted research in the field with court employees, and end users. When they were preparing to present their findings, we asked them to think them as highlight reels of a motion picture. The discussion …
  • Common Problems of people in the civil legal system
    Talking to the experts in the court system, we heard what some of the most wicked, common problems are for people — the common places that they fail in getting to a good resolution. It’s very hard to finish a divorce case. Even if you get it started, and do many of the tasks, divorce’s don’t just “finish themselves” once …
  • Self Help Center essential research
    In our interviews with experts and court professionals, we identified some of the core challenges and needs. Here are some of the highlights: More and more people are coming to the civil court system without a lawyer Judges, clerks, and other court professionals have an obligation to be neutral, but they also must serve these people without lawyers Many of …
  • User situations in Self Help Centers
    As we have been researching the status quo situation of the Self Help Centers, we’ve identified some common types of users. They are as follows. People with their kids, stressed and overwhelmed. They either can’t get child care, or brought them hoping to use court child care, but couldn’t because of the age/potty-training requirements People who are stressed, anxious, and …
  • Our big guiding design briefs
    After our first two classes, we began to identify some of the big questions that characterize how the court needs to improve. We decided to segment based on where the person is in their journey through the system. Each brief focuses on a different moment. We are going to use these design briefs to frame our new Winter Quarter class. …
  • “Magic” cards: essential info on a business card
    Can we boil down all of the most essential things to know for a legal issue onto a business card? We can list out What Not To Do, What to Say, What to Do, What to Expect. We could perhaps even diagram the procedure to expect. The goal would be to give people a prep card that they can always …
  • Grassroots Legal Advocates from Namati
    Namati has a program called Grassroots Legal Advocates. It has paralegals trained in the basics of local law, as well as complementary skills like community organizing, training, advocacy, and strategic mediation. The paralegals and advocates can help empower local communities with legal knowledge and procedures. Namati intends them as a frontline that can be in touch with community needs, adjust …
  • Project Homeless Connect in Colorado
    Project Homeless Connect, run by the Colorado Lawyers Committee brings together coordinated services on a single day for homeless individuals. Legal volunteers help people connect to legal assistance, as well as public benefits, medical care, housing, employment, and other needed services. There is also a “Homeless Court” to allow people to resolve outstanding warrants if they have violated Denver’s City Ordinance. …
  • Legal Nights in Colorado
    The Colorado Lawyers Committee has assembled a list of community clinics that are around the state, to get legal resources to people. There are “Legal Nights” in Denver and Greeley. At these nights, lawyers come to resource centers and churches in the community, with volunteer interpreters. They provide legal info and referrals to people who need help. Some of the issues …
  • Street Law for ‘Know Your Rights’ training from Univ. of Georgia
    University of Georgia has a Street Law program. It holds sessions to train people, especially young people, on legal topics. Much of their work is focused on how young people can understand the criminal justice system and the social services system, to be smart when navigating them. Street Law UGA conducts community outreach geared primarily towards familiarizing youth about prevalent …
  • Lawyer in Library program in Providence
    The Providence Public Library hosts lawyers who will answer questions for free. It’s called “Lawyers in the Library.” No appointments are needed, and the series is free. It’s run with a Presentation from a lawyer, and then an opportunity with people to speak to that lawyer about the presented topic. For example, they’ve had presentations and open questions on Supplemental Security …
  • Legal Clinics in High Schools, from Chicago Law & Education Foundation
    The Chicago Law & Education Foundation  has a high school law clinic that works on providing services, particularly around immigration law, to students in need. The Chicago Law and Education Foundation was started in 2010 by teacher/attorney Dennis Kass. CLEF launched a pilot clinic at Little Village Lawndale High School during the 2009-2010 school year. The legal clinic was once …
  • Making the court Self Help Center more friendly and human
    Could we remake the Self Help Center to be more colorful, friendly, and humanized? This could be with more art on the wall, with more aesthetically and purposefully structured walls of resources. It could also have things for toddlers and other kids to focus on, so that they are focused, calm, and not distracting their parents and others.
  • Starter Kit packets for legal processes
    At Self Help Centers, we observed that people got a lot of paper, but didn’t know exactly what to do with all of them. The idea of a Resource Guide is that there would be a streamlined collection of resources, with forms, to-do lists, timelines, and maps. It would be akin to what new moms get from the hospital as …
  • Big Maps of legal service providers, on the wall and in handouts
    What is it? Have standardized maps of all the court’s floors and rooms, as well as adjacent buildings. These should use the color scheme to direct people on a certain pathway to the right location. It should have plentiful white space, so people can annotate their paper map with where to go. The maps should be like those in malls …
  • Numbering Line System for self help services
    How can we make lines in courts less painful? One idea is to have a numbering system. People can take a number and hang out til their number is called — instead of waiting in line and getting exhausted and frustrated. The numbering system would have paper numbers to take, along with a digital system to count and announce the …
  • Better Cover Sheets on Forms
    We identified that Form Packets are a central ‘thing’ in the Court System. People come to court for help, and the Clerks and Self Help Centers deliver them help through a large selection of paperwork. These papers, most especially forms, are the key commodity in which their help is communicated — and what they can walk away with. With that …
  • Giant Visual Storyboards in legal buildings (and elsewhere)
    Our proposal is for courts to make huge posters to display on the walls, that lay out the steps of a legal process. They can be replicated on handouts and brochures. These giant maps would show an illustrated way that a person would get through the individual tasks. They could also show the back-and-forth between a person, their advocate, and …
  • Design Review Sheet for the legal system
    We use this one-page Evaluation sheet to review a service, product, or idea. It prioritizes the user’s point of view — to make sure that the thing you’re reviewing has a good user experience. It can be used for proposals or existing things. The sheet forces the reviewer to give a number on each factor, but the main thing is …
  • Signs that clarify relationship between Advocates and People
    One of the needs we uncovered at the Self Help Centers in courts was to make it clear to people that they couldn’t expect full legal representation. The courts wanted to make sure they didn’t expect full confidentiality or an ongoing relationship. To do this, we propose a poster that could also be replicated as handouts or cards. It would …
  • Welcome to Court! colored, problem-oriented signs
    What is it? Posters and other large-scale signage that can be placed physically throughout and around the court building, and on any web- or mobile-based court technology. It would reach out to people considering using the court by framing the problem in words they understand, using iconography and colors. It would give the person a ‘pathway’ view of what resources …
  • Strategy Prep for “tough conversations”
    Public legal education groups, including the Justice Education Society, in British Columbia have created online guides to help a person have difficult conversations. They are particularly meant to resolve disputes before they become more problematic. These give a small training in the mindsets and approaches a person can use to get to better outcomes. It’s not just the step-by-step of …
  • Neighborhood Legal Clinics in King County
    King County provides a  Neighborhood Legal Clinics program to give free, limited legal help to people in Washington State. There are specialty clinics, like around family, debt, elder law, civil rights, etc. They don’t offer help on criminal issues. The purpose of the Neighborhood Legal Clinics program (NLC) is to offer free, limited legal advice and referrals to King County residents …
  • Free Legal Aid in Iowa Libraries
    In Iowa, there are two programs that sponsor Free Legal Aid for low-income residents at libraries. The Iowa State Bar Public Service Project and the Iowa Legal Aid Volunteer Lawyers Project offer statewide services through the library. People can come to the library on certain dates to consult with lawyers without charge. Source: Free Legal Aid — James Kennedy Public …
  • Customizable Process Map
      What is it? Have a standardized paper map of the steps in a legal process laid out, with tasks, hand-offs, and roles. This map can then be marked-up and customized by the user and by lawyers and court staff, to help them understand the process in terms of their own situation. Ideally, it would be visual — with icons …
  • Court Resource Easel Board
      What is it? It is a standing easel, about five feet high, with clips to attach a series of booklets. It would be more attractive than a standard “Wall of Handouts”, and it would have more structured categories and flows of resources to take. For example, each easel would be for a specific Problem, and then each row of …
  • Happy/Not Happy card
    A model for feedback is the Happy/Not Happy card, a simple folded card that gives the user two sets of things to do to give feedback. It comes from a headphone company, Anker. They include this card with their product, to give a very clear set of steps to follow up with feedback.
  • Lawyer in the Library + Clinics
    The San Mateo County Law Library has a Lawyer in the Library Program. Once a month, the Redwood City-based library has a live lawyer present for 20 minute free consultations. You must sign up before hand. The San Mateo County Law Library participates in the San Mateo County Public Library System’s ‘Lawyer in the Library’ Program. Every 4th Wednesday of the month …
  • Story-examples to show human process
    What if courts documented real-life stories of people who went through various processes, and how they did so. This could be through pictures and words, or through interactive media or videos. It would give the user a sense of how others have used the process, what background they came from, and what they achieved. This idea is partly inspired by …
  • CourtMD self-audit for courts
    Court MD is a project from the National Center for State Courts that lets court admins run an audit of their own organization, to figure out what’s going wrong and where they should focus resources. Here’s the description from NCSC: …start with CourtMD, a new and improved online diagnostic tool from NCSC that can help zero in on your court’s …
  • BillFixers: advocates who negotiate for you
    BillFixers is a service that lets you have someone else deal with your bills, to figure out how to negotiate them down. Our expert negotiators are ready to lower your bills up to 35%! Get started by signing up with BillFixers today! You pay them half of what you can save, after they negotiate with the companies to save you …
  • AirHelp: scan and claim for airline compensation
    AirHelp scouts your flight details to see if you can make a claim for compensation. You can enter your flight details with airports and dates if your flight has been cancelled or overbooked. Then you can check your eligibility to see if you can apply for compensation. Flight delayed? Canceled? Missed connection? You could receive up to €600 from the …
  • Tenants in Action: app to report housing violations
    Tenants in Action is an app for tenants in LA to document and report issues they have with housing problems. They can use the app to note what problems they’re experiencing, match that to codes in the government-speak, and then register a complaint — all through the app.  
  • Paribus: scraping your data to find claims
    Paribus is a tool that finds you ways to get reimbursed in part from companies you’ve bought products from. You give them access to your emails where you get receipts, and then it looks for opportunities for you to get money back from that company when prices drop or there are other obligations for them to return money to you. …
  • Heat Seek: documenting violations with sensors
    Can we use technology to seek out problems that have legal dimensions, that people aren’t aware of? Heat Seek is a technology-based legal tool to help people see if heating code violations have occurred. It uses sensor technology to watch whether and how homes are being heated in NYC, and identifying when violations happen. It can then track patterns of …
  • SquaredAway housing dispute resolution system
    SquaredAway is a web-app that promotes healthy relations between landlords and tenants — helping resolve and prevent housing disputes. It does so by providing a communications platform for landlords and tenants, as well as wikis, checklists, and other guides. It lets Chicago tenants and landlords keep track of what issues there are with a given house, and to manage disputes …
  • JustFix app for tenants to gather evidence, protect their rights
    JustFix is an app that is built for NYC tenants to understand their housing rights, gather documentation that could be used to support their legal claims, and to share their case file with advocates. JustFix.nyc adds another tactic to the fight for housing justice by partnering with grassroots organizations to create better support systems for New York City’s excluded communities. …
  • Navigation maps for all legal services in a jurisdiction
    This concept proposal is to create a single map and wayfinding system for all the different types of legal services, across all kinds of different providers, in a jurisdiction. It can be a geographic map, as well as organizational and process map. It would lay out where a person could go find help, and direct them to these different stops …
  • Due Processr: evaluate eligibility for indigency status
    The web-app Due Processr takes the user through an interactive questionnaire that helps the person to determine if they are eligible for the qualification of ‘Indigency’ in Massachusetts. The app breaks apart the eligibility factors into distinct questions, and in one page of responses the user will get their answer about whether they qualify.
  • Legal screeners and intake for medical providers
    Mobile apps aimed at non-legal service providers help them screen for legal problems for their clients. For example there is an app specifically designed for use in medical-legal partnerships, in which users have come to a medical facility to deal with a medical problem. The app can be used by a service provider at the clinic or hospital to screen …
  • Legal Health Checkup concept sketch
    An increasingly popular concept for access innovations is the Legal Health Checkup, that would serve as an initial outreach to laypeople. It would help them understand what issues they are currently dealing with that might have legal recourse — and then would give them resources to follow up on this. For checkups, I’ve observed three types: ones for a specific …
  • Legal Health Check-ups online screener, from CLEO in Ontario
    There is a lot of interest in developing new, and new modes of, legal health checkups. There are some such checkups currently in action — like this one from Ontario, which is delivered through a web survey. This one, created by Halton Community Legal Services, is specifically for low-income individuals in Ontario to figure out what benefits and services they …
  • Mobile legal help apps
    Mobile legal help apps are becoming increasingly common. In these apps, often developed as standalone applications for Android or iOS systems, the user gets a wide range of legal help information specifically geared for self-represented litigants all on their phone. The advantage of these apps is that once they’re downloaded you don’t need a web connection to access the materials. …
  • Document assembly tools to automatically create forms
    There are many HotDocs and A2J document assembly projects that have been funded by TIG that have replication potential. Listed below is a brief synopsis of a couple of those projects. From South Central Michigan: automated forms completion. Legal Services of South Central Michigan developed information and resources for self-represented litigants throughout the state. The project team developed interactive document assembly interviews using technology …
  • Online Intake systems
    Online intake is an always-on service, that lets anyone with an internet connection enter their information and find what services they might qualify for. The advantage of an online intake system is that it prevents the need for a person from having to figure out how to connect to an intake service during business hours, or having to go through …
  • I-CAN! Legal – Get help filling out court forms
    I-CAN! Legal is a software tool to help laypeople prepare court forms through a more interactive and user-friendly online questionnaire. I-CAN! Legal helps people prepare their court forms using an easy online questionnaire. I-CAN! provides step-by-step instructions for how to file the forms and proceed with the court case. In Orange County, California, I-CAN! also provides e-filing of certain forms. …
  • Game-based simulation of court 
    Source: A team at Northeastern Law has been building a simulation game to help self-represented litigants prepare for their court appearance. The sim­u­la­tion game is par­tic­u­larly tar­geted to the growing number of people who cannot afford legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion and thus rep­re­sent them­selves in legal pro­ceed­ings ranging from evic­tions and mort­gage fore­clo­sures to child cus­tody pro­ceed­ings and debt col­lec­tion cases. Nation­ally, …
  • Secure video uploads to document rights violations
    This concept is for an online service that would allow for secure uploads from places that are under surveillance or without great digital freedoms. The service would allow them to anonymously, securely upload videos and photos that document human rights abuses and other potentially controversial events. The service would ensure the content got to the outside world, and would prevent …
  • THE BUOY PROJECT – Tech For Justice
    The winner of the New Mexico Tech for Justice hackathon was THE BUOY PROJECT . Here is the description of the project — an emergency services line for a community — from the site. Buoy is a private, enhanced 9-1-1 for your website and community. It is a community-driven emergency dispatch system because everything about it’s design is based on the …
  • Legal Rapid Prototyping Core team
    What if we had on-site teams that could quickly spot problems, create an intervention, test it, and improve on it — all in one day or less, to make a great new design that actually works and is meaningful to the stakeholders (say, in a legal clinic, self help center, or court). Ideally this team would have design, research, and …
  • Street Law cartoon outreach
    Could we make gripping cartoon outreach posters — with basic primers on key points of law and legal services, that apply to people who are likely to be hanging out in a certain physical space? This idea came up for Trafficking, in airports, bus terminals, and other places of transit. Could we have small illustrated stories or explainers about the …
  • Legal Advocate SMS
    A mobile-first solution, that would let any lay person connect to basic legal knowledge and education through virtually free SMS back-and-forths. It could be lessons taught in small bite-size chunks and stories, through a series of texts. It could be daily reminders with key lessons to remember. Or it could even be virtual mentoring and instruction, with a real person …
  • “Human Law” drop-in problem-solving centers
    What if there were physical locations in communities, in which people with life problems could drop in and get help? There would be lawyers there, but there could also be medical, mental health, social service, immigration, and all kinds of other specialists. It would be a center for holistic care, that you could understand your problem’s possible solutions in many …
  • Lawyer transparency with stats cards
    If one of laypeople’s main concerns about using the legal system is the lack of transparency around hiring a lawyer (how much do they cost? are they any good? will they be the right fit for me?) — then how can we give a person more insight into their possible choices of lawyers and who might be right for them? …
  • Triage Diagnostic Tool to Assess Potential for Self-Representation in New Mexico
    Source: New Mexico – Diagnostic Tool to Assess Potential for Self-Representation The New Mexico Access to Justice Commission used an ATJ Innovation Grant to develop a diagnostic tool to assess factors that might help or hinder a particular individual in self-representation, as a first step in developing a comprehensive on-line intake and triage system. Project Summary & Assessment Final Report …
  • Rechtwijzer guide through a legal process
    Rechtwijzer is a Dutch platform to help laypeople through the start of a legal process — from problem to legal process. Probleem of conflict? Vul stap voor stap Rechtwijzer in. U krijgt advies over wat u in uw situatie kunt doen en wie u daarbij kunnen helpen. It takes an ‘expert system’ approach to helping a person figure out what …
  • Court Navigator Program to help people through court
    NYC Housing Court – Resolution Assistance Program (RAP) offers the Court Navigator Program: The Court Navigator Program was launched in February 2014 to support and assist unrepresented litigants – people who do not have an attorney – during their court appearances in landlord-tenant and consumer debt cases. Specially trained and supervised non-lawyers, called Court Navigators, provide general information, written materials, …
  • Document Assembly Software for uncontested divorces
    Source: Arkansas – Document Assembly Software The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission used an ATJ Innovation Grant to develop a pro se document assembly form for uncontested divorce with children. The software will be used in a court-house based pilot project in which attorneys assist pro se litigants on a limited scope basis. The pilot is aimed at increasing bench …
  • Online user question-and-answers from pro bono attorneys
    The Alabama Access to Justice Commission used an ABA Expansion Grant to implement the web-based pro bono program Online Tennessee Justice, which allows pro bono attorneys to answer questions submitted by clients through a website.  In Alabama the website has been launched as Alabama Legal Answers. Project Summary & Assessment See more: Alabama – Online SRL Pro Bono Support Final overview/report on creating the …
  • Referral Program & Lawyer Training to Serve Modest-means Clients
    This project received an Innovation Grant through the ABA. Read more: Colorado – Serving Modest-means Clients The Colorado Access to Justice Commission and Colorado Bar Association used an ATJ Innovation Grant to develop a two-part project aimed at providing legal assistance to moderate-income individuals.  The first is providing assistance to low- and middle-income Coloradans, who do not qualify for legal aid, …
  • Client Control over Data, Portable Client Data
    As the client goes to a 2 hour consultation, the lawyer takes notes straight into the client’s portable data point. It means that the client can then take this with them to all other care team members — and very easily & quickly show them what’s going on, with the lawyer’s notes presented in the standard fields. We would need …
  • Pop-Up Legal Services zones
    What if we provided coordinated legal-medical-mental health-housing-family-education support all in one big pop-up zone? Like a Food Truck park, with lots of different options to browse around and engage with. Could we have a traveling courthouse, that offers limited legal services to you in more convenient, and people-friendly places? Like in libraries, in community centers, churches, even festivals? Some of …
  • 100% Justice Brigade
    What if we had a new Legal Organization — the 100% Justice Brigade — that was all about using design skills to create better services for laypeople. Clearer signage, maps, guides, communications — and full blown new services too!
MargaretBlog of Design for Justice