Margaret Hagan is the founder of the Open Law Lab and a fellow at Stanford law center. Although Margaret loved drawing when she was young, her connection to creativity ended when she joined law school. Just like the rest of her peers, Margaret joined law school with an analytical mindset. However, she was inspired back to design when she read her future husband’s thesis.
In one of her interviews on her work in humanizing the legal experience through design, she explains how visual is a fundamental part of learning as many people are attracted to pictures. Legal designs use innovative graphical representations that are simple and clear in their application of technique.
Furthermore, the design also makes law more user-friendly as it offers attorneys a better legal solution when dealing with their clients. As a result, it helps to create empathy as legal experience becomes more user-friendly. In this guide, we will share how Margaret designed a better legal understanding to better her career.
How to design a better legal experience for yourself
The following are some of the main factors that Margaret used to develop a better legal experience.
#1. Legal occurrences
In this evolving world, each of us finds ourselves in need of a legal system. That’s why it has become impossible for you to avoid the law. Although many people are only aware of criminal law, there are more than 100 areas an attorney can specialize in law. However, all these specializations share a common goal that entails forcing human behavior into fair play. For instance, if you are a client or an attorney, the following are some of the everyday situations you will find yourself in.
Have you ever found yourself purchasing a new home, filing for a waiver, or in a scenario that demanded a legal interaction? Was the whole process conducive and easy to start for you? On most occasions, clients have to redraft their documents several times with no success.
If you are an attorney, it is essential to know your daily experience. However, a good number of attorneys love what they do. They appreciate a complex system that keeps them in powerful positions while others are devoted to protecting others from the negative effect of an unfriendly system.
#2. User experience in law
One of the challenges that Margaret identified that many legal system experts agree to is a poor user experience. It is a norm for many citizens and legal professionals who pass through the doors of justice to feel helpless and frustrated. For some, the situation is dire.
Besides, Margaret believes that using a human-centered design approach is the best remedy when championed by IDEO. To her, focusing on functional and experiential needs was essential. However, she defined functional needs as the most apparent but crucial needs, like money needed to bail or pay a fine for you. Experimental needs entail anything designers will use to accomplish their logistics with ease.
Margaret proposes that if you make an individual fulfill their self-aspiration, it acts as a cover-up for anything wrong in your system.
#3. Ensure user experience is in the center
One of the best questions you can ask yourself is how you can offer an experiential factor where your users can participate, just like in a restaurant where they present us with a menu and provide people to serve us. It is essential to stay guided along in a choreographed way.
Margaret shares her personal experience working as a social worker when serving in a juvenile court. She could guide parents and new colleagues to help them overcome overwhelming occurrences. Margaret narrates the challenge she faced as a juror. Being a witness was not a walk in the park. Knowing that her testimony could jail someone was not something to celebrate but a situation that made her feel shameful.
#4. Redesigning your legal system
In comparison to other countries, Margaret once blogged that the UK has a more progressive legal system. Initially, the UK had one major commission controlled by the house of Lords, and in case of challenges, people were neither served nor access justice. Nowadays, the UK is on the right track, trying to design its thinking into government policies. The action has seen this country change the way the legal system operates. As a result, non-lawyers can also practice by opening legal businesses. Thus, it becomes easy for citizens to acquire legal services at affordable prices.
#5. Moving forward
The future of Margaret’s work looks brighter. After successfully publishing the Open Law Lab, she has experienced a lot of interest in her ideas. This action has emboldened her confidence in the future of her thoughts.
Besides, it is also an opportunity for judges to change their courts, rules, and the conventional way of doing their things. Many judges understand that they will need to adopt new ideas in their courtroom in the future. That’s why Margaret believes that humans are at the center of these systems.
There is a need to open up legal services to accommodate people who would like to change the way of providing legal services. The use of design will change the experience of the users to be more open and usable. Nonetheless, a legal professional needs to adopt new ideas to change their traditional approach. Also, setting up experimental labs inside their modern offices would harness their services.