February 16, 2024

Maybe the answer is legal design, after all…

A fair few years ago, before Uber et al had made even lawyers speak about disruption, the new thing which was supposed to “revolutionise” the way lawyers work was “Legal Design”.

A fair few years ago, before Uber et al had made even lawyers speak about disruption, the new thing which was supposed to“revolutionise” the way lawyers work was “Legal Design”. With its promise to put the user “front and centre”, the Legal Design movement was all about using design concepts to reimagine how legal products such as contracts and policies are presented. This would unlock the creative potential or the contracts and the lawyers and in the long run improve the legal substance as well as make contracts look nicer.

It’s fair to say that the revolution failed to break many eggs, and this was probably not only because of conservative lawyers refusing to adapt. The benefits of Legal Design simply didn’t live up to the promises heralded by the converted (few).

Since then, automation, AI and legal tech have taken over the attention of those who look for revolutions and hardly anyone speaks about Legal Design at parties any longer. But legal tech has so far not been a revolution either and has failed to live up to the promises of the converted (many). The failings of the promised legal tech and automation revolutions mean that the provision of legal services has hardly changed at all in the last 10 years.

However, taking a step back, what if it’s not the legal substance that makes legal products particularly difficult to automate (although negotiations are more three dimensional than any contract management system would like you to think)? What if it is the design which is the main roadblock for automating in a user-friendly way? Perhaps we need to first (re)design the legal contracts and only then start on automation.

At DealStack we see great potential in developing the way in which legal products and services are delivered. We also believe that making lawyers do code is not a viable long term solution. That requires us to find other ways forward and some of those other paths force a rethink of the presentation of the legal products. We believe this pragmatic way forward, blending design and tech, will ultimately lead to the fastest and greatest advances.    

At DealStack we see great potential in developing the way in which legal products and services are delivered.

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