Myths & Realities in Legal Design

Nov 14, 2022

There's a lot of talk these days about legal design, but sadly, much of it is misguided. Too often, legal design is presented as a panacea for all that ails the legal profession. It's billed as a cure for lawyer burnout, for instance, or a way to make the practice of law more accessible and user-friendly.

But the truth is, Legal design is not a magic bullet. It's simply a tool that, when used correctly, can help lawyers improve their practice, making their work more efficient and effective. When used properly, legal design can help lawyers save time and serve clients better. But when misused or misunderstood, it can do more harm than good.

So let's set the record straight about what is Legal Design and what it is not.


1. Legal Design isn't just about making the law look beautiful and contracts pretty

We often get pigeonholed into thinking the sole purpose of Legal Design is to make things look nice. But design plays a much more important role in the law. 

Legal Design is a tool that can be used to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the legal process for both clients and lawyers. By streamlining the work, automating processes, and creating user-friendly interfaces, Legal Design can help reduce the amount of time spent on legal matters. This means legal teams become more efficient in delivering services to their clients.

Ultimately, Legal Design has a significant impact on the customer experience, client retention, and referrals. There are figures that support that. Design-led organizations can generate 10% more revenue. That's why Legal Design is not about things prettier, but better.  

In addition, by improving communication and collaboration between lawyers and clients, Legal Design can help them work better together by establishing a strong partnership to resolve complex legal problems. This means clients stop shopping around for legal help. Instead, they stick with their service provider because they truly love the approach and customer interactions. And that is made possible using a structured methodology for customer centricity that is made possible with Legal Design.

Legal services providers who adopt Legal Design are no longer seen as commodities but as trusted partners. They have KPIs to track the legal work done and that is great for the business. This helps move away from the reality that law is a commodity. 

In other words, the reality of Legal Design is that it can be used to make the legal system work better for everyone involved. So, if you're looking for a way to make a difference in the world of law, consider using Legal Design methods and techniques to help create a more effective and efficient customer experience or legal system. It just might be the best use of your legal skills combined with design thinking methods! 


2. Legal Design is not about making logos. Don't hire a Legal Designer to make your logo or social media posts.

Let's face it, legal services are often seen as cold, expensive, and inaccessible. The branding is very black and white and undifferentiated. Law firms' websites feature the latest decisions and other blog texts with jargon. These pieces are very difficult to understand for clients and for any potential future clients looking to hire a lawyer for their legal needs. 

However, Legal Design is not going to help if you want a new logo or a nice wall of social media posts on your Instagram. By understanding and embracing the principles of Legal Design, the legal industry can signiticantly improve the quality of customers' interactions whether existing customers or potential future users.

Hire a Legal Design practitioner to help you create a systematic approach for onboarding new customers, better law firm client communicationnurturing customers' relationships, and developing an effective approach to collect their feedback to keep improving your customer experience.

One of the most important aspects of Legal Design is giving clarity to your users. Whether you are onboarding a customer or trying to communicate complex information, it's vital that your audience can understand you and what is the next clear step to take.

That's why Legal Designer practitioners focus on creating clear, concise communications, whether it's for a legal document such as a contract or a policy or a website. Legal information and communication have to be easy to understand and immediately usable the first time the audience reads it. That's how Legal Design helps bring value to the audience: Giving clarity and confidence to users.

In short, Legal Design represents a major opportunity for the legal industry to improve the quality of customer interactions. By using a structured and systematic approach, the reality of Legal Design is that it can be used to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the legal process and experience for both clients and lawyers.


3. Legal Design is not just for Big Law. Small firms and solo practitioners alike can massively benefit from Legal Design.

Another common misconception is that Legal Design is only for big law firms. In reality, though, any lawyer can benefit from using Legal Design tools and strategies to make their work more efficient and effective. Whether you're a solo practitioner or a member of a large practice, there's no reason not to take advantage of everything Legal Design has to offer. 

The reality of Legal Design is that it can be used to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the legal process for both clients and lawyers. It's about improving the legal experience. This means that in addition to streamlining processes, law firms whether big or small, can also use it to improve communication, and make customer interactions more effective. 

Legal Design practitioners are all about making legal services more efficient based on the customers' needs and wants, and legal information more effective based on KPIs and metrics. The methodology offers a structured approach to identifying those needs and responding adequately and systematically to them. 

Since Legal design is a relatively new field, it is normal there are still a lot of unanswered questions about what it is and what it can do. But one thing is clear: if you want to be part of the future of law, you will need to be able to use Legal Design in practice as it helps innovate in the way you communicate, work with clients and deliver services.

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