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Legal Design for Practice

Perry-Kessaris, Amanda, Legal Design for Practice, Activism, Policy and Research (December 4, 2018). Available at SSRN:
“This paper offers an integrated introduction to how, conceptually, to think about what design can do for law; where, empirically, to find examples of legal design; and how, normatively, to assess it. It begins by highlighting three lawyerly concerns: the need to communicate; the need to balance structure and freedom; and the need to be at once practical, critical and imaginative. Next the paper highlights three features of designerly ways: a commitment to communication, an emphasis on experimentation, and an ability to make things visible and tangible. It is proposed that designerly ways can directly improve lawyerly communication; and that they can also generate new structured-yet-free spaces in which lawyers can be at once practical, critical and imaginative. The paper then provides examples of legal design in action across four fields of lawyering: legal practice, legal activism, policy-making and legal research. Emphasis is placed throughout on the need for a critical approach to legal design—that is, for legal design to be thought about and done with a commitment to avoiding, exposing and remedying biases and inequalities. In that spirit, the paper concludes with an assessment of some of the risks associated with legal design.”

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