This Ideabook is to inspire people who want to bring innovation into legal services.

It inventories young ideas, that are relatively raw and untested, but which seem to have promise.

We draw this idea inventory from workshops, Twitter conversations, envisionment sessions, conference talks, and other industries that we get inspired by. Some are tech-driven, but not all are. Please explore and let us know if you have any reactions!

Gallery of Ideas

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.
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: ...
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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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. ...
  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 ...
  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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 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 ...
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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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!
This concept design was one of the 5 finalists from the Florida Legal Aid Summit. It was for a Micro-Leadership Incubator to train new legal aid leaders over several years.    
When people are called into court -- like a parent whose kids have ended up in the justice system, or like a person who gets called in to deal with a problem -- could we prepare them in a better way? Give them strategies? Give them orientation about what the timelines and ...
An app or SMS/MMS based tool to let a person get expert feedback on their legal document: Is this correct? What does this mean? Is this ready to go? We do this by having the person take a photo of it, then sending it on to the Self-Help Center, Law Librarian, ...
Could we make a software tool to quickly customize and verify the appropriateness of a contract?
A small sketchnote of different ways we could get people's legal issues sussed out: decision trees, telephone q-n-a, etc.
Could we welcome people in to have free coffee, free ice cream, even candy, and then get them directed to legal services from there?
Could we have stations in libraries, hospitals, everywhere that would be easy to ask questions around possible legal problems and see if you can get help? A technical touchpoint that would triage you and send you on your way to help.
What if we had more legal services that provided people in crisis with empathy? It might be in the form of someone to listen to their story and engage them in conversation. It might be a computer algorithm that gives a sense of conversation and attention. It might be with ...
What if every person had a lawyer that was closely related to them, that was responsible for advising them and keeping them legally healthy, and dealing with any problem that arises for them.
Could we build a smart system inside courthouses that provide Internet access, connections to printing/copying, and electrical power for all those who need to be computer-connected while doing their business in the court?
What if legal aid groups banded together, to make their office, software, services, and other purchases together? If they buy in bulk and together, they can negotiate better prices, licenses, and other terms. A platform could bring these groups together to make smarter decisions (based on the wisdom of the ...
Could we take the workshops that self-help centers already run in person, and make online versions of them to get wider distribution? To people who can't travel to self-help centers or need it during weekends or evenings? If we package up the guides into more usable formats, we can help ...
What if we made templated, user-tested Cover Sheets to all legal tasks (whether it's filling out forms or going through a procedure) so that people have great introductions and orientations to the task before being asked to do it?
Inspired by the civic technology project CityVoice, that lets any person call up to leave a voice message about a problem they're experiencing with their city government or infrastructure -- can we provide a similar feedback loop in court and legal services?
What if people in the legal system had ways to give their feedback, so that the courts, lawyers, and other professionals could improve their services based on user experience metrics? The metrics could be: - comprehensibility - accessibility - ease of use - sense of fairness - positivity/negativity of experience This is a simple feedback card -- ...
At courts, at community centers, at libraries, at cafes -- can we have interactive boards full of resources and services that people could access? Using a large touch screen, a court or clinic could have a Triage screen, a Resources Screen, or a Directions Screen. People could come up to ask ...
I have been sketching out some possible templates for what a good one-pager worksheet would be, to guide a lay person through a legal process. The he one-pager has limits, so instead of thinking about it as a total 'process guide', I'm thinking of it more as an 'orientation tool' ...
A few weeks ago, when I logged into my browser, I got a notice from Google that they wanted to walk me through a Privacy Checkup of my Google Account. I agreed, more to observe how they treated me as a user & how they guided me through the experience ...
Could we build a single portal to all kinds of legal support, help, counsel? If it's a simple, memorable number that's the same across the country -- that would be terrific from a branding approach. The LSC-TIG Summit last year listed centralized state-by-state legal portals as one of their central agenda ...
What would an all-in-one collaboration platform look like, for clients & lawyers to work together? If there could be one place that coordinates a person's journey from having a legal problem, to seeking help, to actually carrying through resolution of the problem -- it could help reduce so many of ...
Could we create a Schedule & Alert system to let litigants and court people know what the busy-ness & traffic level are? Especially for litigants who have a choice about when they come into court (say to contest a traffic ticket) - couldn’t we help them decide when to come in, ...
During the Legal Design Bootcamp that I was running last week, one of the participating groups came up with a very interesting concept that I wanted to share. We spent one day going through a design cycle, and they began by choosing a very particular user -- a young Guatemalan girl, ...
Can we make navigators that are game-like, or make games that allow a person to do a prep-run of what an actual legal procedure will be like? This concept came out of a workshop on improving immigration support. It was for a board game that a group could play together, to ...
An idea for gathering intake information & triage-ing users to the right legal resource by giving them video scenarios/stories to watch and then figure out which best corresponds to their situation.
I've been prototyping various means to deliver & build legal knowledge -- with a specific consideration of bolstering Access to Justice. One pathway, of course, is Visualized Law. I've been playing with it with cartoons and illustrations, and in other forms (hyperlinked, layered checklists -- visual expert systems). One promising prototype is ...
An idea to help lay people go through legal processes by giving them interactive and customized guides to going through them step by step. It is a website that gives a serialized set of prompts and information. We have made a first version of this as Navocado.
Could we use the same methods of those television lawyers who bombard daytime-tv-watchers with 'Are you injured? Can you sue? Call now to find your rights!' -- to increase lay people's awareness of their rights, of civil remedies, of free or low-cost legal services?
Could we put law on the street? Have public space installations that give basic outreach, checklists, resources, if not even full-blown clinics for people to encounter in their daily life? This idea is in part from conversations with my Mexican colleagues, with ideas for subway station legal clinics.
One of the projects on my front-burner is getting a great legal navigator built, that takes a person step-by-detailed-step through a legal process. Here are some of the sketches from my notebooks on how I hope to actually lay these out on a webpage and/or printed page. Composition has ...
What would it look like if there was one major site online, that anyone searching out help for a life problem could use? They would enter their problem, legal issues would be identified, and then the person would be directed to the legal org who can help them. They will get a ...
Could we build stronger legal public relations, outreach, and onramping to the world of legal services? One stream of ideas for improving access to justice: can we brand legal services & lawyers, to make them more known, more trustworthy, more purchase-able & engaging for non-lawyers?
More calls for streamlined legal help services, this time from Jim Sandman of the Legal Services Corporation.
We need to think from immigrants' points  of view -- where they are now, what tech they use, who they trust.
Some more radical thoughts from Denis Weil, provoking lawyers to rethink how they relate to their users to find effective paths toward innovation.
A challenge  from Justice Cuellar's at the ABA Legal Innovation Summit.
An idea for having a document-software plugin (think, for Microsoft Word) that would track its lawyer & law students' mark-ups of legal documents, learn where the arguments were and what good arguments are, and then use those patterns to make smart recommendations to the lawyer as she is crafting arguments ...
A tool that would read contracts & legal documents so that you don't have to. It would boil it down into key things that you should know -- the essential conditions, trade-offs, etc.
Could we have a tech-based companion for people going through a court process? It could have timing advice, location directions, and other support to make sure the person is prepared for their day in court. The value of this design would be to coordinate all the resources into a single place ...
An idea to allow a person with a legal decision to make to play around with possible variables & the outcomes that would result. It would be a way to see multiple different scenarios, and weigh options before making a decision.
An idea for schematically diagramming a legal brief -- to make it more instantly clear what its content is. What would a better legal brief look like? What would it be to submit writings for the judge’s consideration in ways that are more formally structured — so that these communications could: 1) ...
An idea for better education around law -- summing up a concept in a card, with a visual to illustrate it, and some key writeups of the concept. It would make the concept stickier and clearer. This kind of movie poster version of the legal service or rule would be useful ...
Could we build an interactive & responsive map, that would show a person the steps and path of a legal process -- and then document where they are on it? This would be a personal, living map for the person to follow. It could be formatted like a roadmap, a flowchart, ...
Could we create a collaboration platform & network that would provide a holistic service for a person with a legal problem -- so they have all the different kinds of support they need?
From my growing ideabook for new legal services, here is a sketched out note on what mobile tech could do for how we resolve small disputes between people. Whether it's through the government courts or through a private solution, how can we use interactive communication tech to help people have ...
A sketchnote of the start of a talk from Stephanie Kimbro, speaking at Univ. of South Carolina Law School about her research on how games & gamification mechanics and motivators could be used to improve the delivery of legal services.s
Last week, I was a facilitator at a Shaping Davos design thinking workshop at Stanford's d.school.  Several local non-profits had brought some big social impact challenges they're facing -- around gentrification, housing, food waste, community-building, and information access. Then small groups of engineers, public policy-makers, business people, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and other ...
As more talk grows about Internet & mobile-based technology opening up a new era of Consumer Law, it’s useful to look back a few decades when there was a similar tide of activity around expanding access to civil legal procedures to the middle classes of Americans. After the Supreme Court ruling ...
As I've been writing up a paper on new legal tools & an agenda for access to justice innovation -- I keep coming back to the same point. To really address the access problem, we should be focusing on scalable, modular tools.  They could be in the form of software & ...
One branch of Legal Design Ideas I'm working on is using crowdsourced information to improve transparency of how legal regulations are implemented & processes are carried out. An idea in this branch is a Parking Ticket Map -- that could use a crowdsourced map like Ushahidi, or other reporting platforms. Individual ...
[youtube ] A group out of Chicago, the Mikva Juvenile Justice Council, is making an app to help young people understand & go through an Expungement legal process. The Knight Foundation is funding the project through its Prototype fund. The project aims "To create a prototype version of Expunge.io, a mobile ...
Ted Olson and David Boies, the legal team behind Prop 8, have been working with the ABA, worked with a task force on the Preservation of the Justice System. They gathered input from stakeholders around the country on how the court experience could be improved -- at the same time ...
In 1994, Richard Zorza and Judge Robert Keating published a paper full of insights from their attempt to redesign the interfaces that judges & court officials used when prosecuting drug offenders, in Midtown Community Court. This quick 4-pager paper The Ten Commandments of Electronic Courthouse Design, Planning, and Implementation: The Lessons ...
I've been searching around for the current landscape of actual initiatives & concept designs for tech tools to provide more access to justice. I went back to a presentation, Assisted Legal Decisionmaking, by law professor Josh Blackman at Stanford last year. He showed some screenshots of legal products he's been ...
For a paper I've been working on, here is a preliminary mind-map I've been sketching out. It's a quick brainstorm of how DIY legal tools may be provided to non-experts. It considers what models might be breakthroughs, how technology might interact with the person, and what challenges might block their success. The ...
I have heard from a few people that they want an Angie's List for Lawyers -- a service they are willing to pay for, to get quality, real, vetted reviews of lawyers in the area.  I decided to seek out some user research, from blog posts and other Internet discussions, ...
At Georgia Tech's school of architecture, they are investigating the physical design of the courthouse experience.
I am on a design team, working on how to redesign the small claims mediation & family mediation (that now would occur offline, in a court house, in a room with a mediator and the parties) into an online experience. My team interviewed a mediator who has expertise in these offline ...
Canada — in particular British Columbia — has been the leading light in using online tools for providing dispute resolution to citizens.  They have found most success in small property & zoning disputes, and also with consumer protection cases. They have done some empirical research and found that people in family ...
A great article from Slate on Tech being used for Legal Aid & Access to Justice, with lots of specific examples of how SMS and other basic tech can give reminders, process updates, basic advice, and more lawyering to people who can’t afford lawyers. The concepts: Automated Call Back Systems from legal ...
Assisted Decision Making from Josh Blackman Here is the presentation from today’s Stanford Law lunch, with law professor Josh Blackman discussing his startup to rival Pacer in distributing case information in a more usable way, with better ways to see relations between firms, judges, cases, companies, etc. ...
LawTechCampLondon from tmcgn7 LawTechCampLondon from tmcgn7 A presentation from a member of the VirtualCourthouse.com team, on the current problem of Access to Justice, and looking at how online tools — particularly around online dispute resolution and diy legal tools for pro se individuals — ...
  The M-Jirga from Colin Rule A presentation by Colin Rule, of Online Dispute Resolution fame, on a concept design for a mobile traditional justice platform. The m-Jirga program would mimic an elders council meeting in a town square or mosque, that would hear disputants’ sides of a ...
For the excellent Legal Tech class I'm taking at Stanford Law School on the future of legal technology, I am proposing to build a WebMD for law. My central question is ‘how might we build tech that could help a lay person diagnose their own legal problems’? I am asking it ...
Sri Lankan tech researcher & TED fellow Sanjana Hattotuwa has laid out some of the basic capabilities that mobile phones in the field can be used in dispute resolution and rule of law. Data gathering Plotting the GIS coordinates of the disputed territory, including details of the location, resources and details of ...
A paper on “An Asian Perspective on Online Mediation” puts forward an agenda for making all the advances made in Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) transition to mobile devices.  ODR had been desktop-based, but this isn’t relevant for the majority of the world, who do not have reliable access to dekstops, ...
The Internet Bar Organization has fielded a proposed design, the Internet Silk Road Initiative, that would use online and mobile tech to provide access to justice & dispute resolution capabilities to Afghanistan. The project’s website is down now, indicating that perhaps the proposal has been shelved right now. But its ambit ...
This is my law/design class’ brainstorm on problems refugees & the UNHCR face in communication.  There are many challenges, especially in opening more reliable, trustworthy, & resonant channels between the UN bureaucracy and the refugees in an unsettled & knowledge-deprived space.



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