Extended Course Description

The legal system has been called the least innovative part of the modern economy but it is, arguably, an “industry” that is ripe for disruption. The level of legal need is higher than ever, the incumbent providers of legal services are unaffordable for many if not most of those who need these services, and the organizational and technological methods used to produce law and justice are decidedly 20th century. This course aims to communicate the opportunity this situation represents, introduce students to nascent efforts to exploit it, and teach a set of skills that will incline them to seeing possibilities and how to attain them. The course starts with a brief survey of foundational material: creative thinking, law, the landscape of legal innovation, and an introduction to some ideas and techniques of human centered design. We then use this material to look at legal/justice needs and legal innovation in rural America, urban America, and developing countries. The second half of the course starts with lessons in how to move from the identification of a problem to the formulation of creative solutions. We will learn to brainstorm, prototype, and iterate through four cycles of research, prototype, presentation, feedback, and revision as we develop products and services that meet legal needs. The final project for the course will be the development, from identification of needs to a final pitch proposal, of a product, service, procedure, or organization that qualifies as an example of justice innovation.

Learning Objectives
  1. An introductory understanding of “the legal domain” sufficient to recognizing problems and communicating with domain experts.
  2. Familiarity with a wide range of existing ventures in the justice innovation space
  3. Ability to identify “problems worth solving.”
  4. Capacity to use a design thinking toolkit that includes research techniques, brainstorming, creative listening, low resolution prototyping, listening to feedback, presentation, and pitching.
  5. Presentation and communication skills.
  6. Giving and receiving constructively critical, iteration-forwarding feedback.

Prerequisite(s): none
Co-Requisite(s): none
Concurrent Enrollment: none
Recommended Preparation: No particular preparation is expected, but the intellectual maturity that comes with previous coursework in law, design, business, or technology would be helpful.

Course Notes

Course is mixture of lecture, seminar, and workshop. Significant use of online materials. Some work for the course will involve production of content for open online resources on the topics covered in the course.

Technological Proficiency and Hardware/Software Required
Web browsing and ready access to some hardware/software for that purpose. All other necessary technological skills will be taught in the course.

Required Readings and Supplementary Materials
Books will be ordered via campus bookstore. Most materials for the course will be open sources or instructor authored and available on the web.

Description and Assessment of Assignments
The course is built around the idea of teaching, practicing, applying. The skills we teach in the class will be applied to example cases and team projects.

Grading Breakdown
See below.

Assignment Rubrics
All assignments will be assessed on a three-level scale: meets expectations, does not meet expectations, exceeds expectations. “Expectations” are high enough and the category broad enough that “exceeds expectations” will rarely be given. The expectations for each assignment will be detailed in the online assignment guide.

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Final projects will be assessed on three dimensions: process and milestones; product and presentation; teamwork and collegiality:

  • Process and Milestones: Week to week delta; key results demonstrated consistently, milestones met.
  • Product and Presentation: Idea quality of final project/product; professional quality of presentation
  • Teamwork and Collegiality: To what degree were your contributions to team process and the work of classmates observably positive and useful?

Grading Scale
An “A” grade for the course represents a student who has met expectations in all assignments during the course. Course final grades will be determined using the following scale

A 95-100
A- 90-94
B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 77-79
C 73-76
C- 70-72
D+ 67-69
D 63-66
D- 60-62
F <60

Assignment Submission Policy
All assignments will be submitted digitally via a platform to be determined. Reviewed assignments will be returned digitally.

Grading Timeline
All assignments are due at 5 p.m. of the week in which they are listed in the syllabus unless otherwise noted (for example, class presentations are due on the day on which they occur). Late assignments are not accepted for feedback and evaluation; however a late assignment that IS submitted will be graded “does not meet expectations” which is more points than “not submitted.”

Background and Overview

WEEK ONE

W: Problems worth solving; Solutions worth pursuing

In this class we introduce the idea of problems worth solving along with strategies for identify them and the criteria by which we will judge a solution as worth pursuing

Readings
TEN Innovate. How to Identify the Big Problem worth Solving
Austin Center for Design. Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving
Kumar, Manu. 2015. Finding a Problem Worth Solving

Deliverables


WEEK TWO

M: Law, Justice, and Social Order

What comes under the heading "law" and how does it relate to justice and social order? In this two session sequence we will get some vocabulary, draw some boundaries around the territory we are calling "legal," and introduce a way of thinking about the outcomes - justice and social order - that we expect law to produce.

Readings

  • TBD. Basic Overview of American legal system
  • World Justice Project. 2016. Rule of Law Index, pp. 4-5, 9-17.
  • Hadfield, G. 2017. Rules for a Flat World, excerpts.

Deliverables

W: Law, Justice, and Social Order

What comes under the heading "law" and how does it relate to justice and social order? In this two session sequence we will get some vocabulary, draw some boundaries around the territory we are calling "legal," and introduce a way of thinking about the outcomes - justice and social order - that we expect law to produce.
Readings

  • TBD. Basic Overview of American legal system
  • World Justice Project. 2016. Rule of Law Index, pp. 4-5, 9-17.
  • Hadfield, G. 2017. Rules for a Flat World, excerpts.

Deliverables


Skill Interlude #1

WEEK THREE (5,6)

M: Examples of Justice Innovation

History, conceptual basis, and examples of justice innovation.

Readings
Readings on the history/mission of various international "justice innovation" organizations

Deliverables

W: How to make a what is out there promo

Students will learn the form, content, and technical tools for producing a short "what's out there" promo about a legal innovation.
Readings

Deliverables


WEEK FOUR (7,8)

M: Introduction to Human Centered Design

Introducing the principles of HCD

Readings

Deliverables

W: Empathy I: How to map user journeys

Introducing the idea of personas and user journey/experience mapping.
Readings

Deliverables


Real World Needs

WEEK FIVE (9,10)

M: People Needing Law in Rural America

Seminar session discussing readings about access to law and legal solutions in rural America

Readings

Deliverables

W: What's Out There?

Three teams produce and present a two minute promo/pitch for and lead a discussion on an existing legal innovation organization, tool, or movement.
Readings

Deliverables


WEEK SIX (11,12)

M: People Needing Law in Urban America

Seminar session on readings about legal needs in urban America

Readings
Sandefur, R. "CIVIL LEGAL NEEDS AND PUBLIC LEGAL UNDERSTANDING"

Deliverables

W: What's Out There?

Three teams produce and present a two minute promo/pitch for and lead a discussion on an existing legal innovation organization, tool, or movement.
Readings

Deliverables


WEEK SEVEN (13,14)

M: People Needing Law in the Developing World

Seminar session on readings about the legal needs of people in the developing world.

Readings

Deliverables

W: What's Out There?

Three teams produce and present a two minute promo/pitch for and lead a discussion on an existing legal innovation organization, tool, or movement.
Readings

Deliverables


WEEK EIGHT (15,16)

M: From Problem to How Might We

How to move from the identification of a problem through insights to the formulation of a "how might we…" question.

Readings

Deliverables

W: From Problem to How Might We

How to move from the identification of a problem through insights to the formulation of a "how might we…" question.
Readings

Deliverables


Skill Interlude #2: Skills we will use for rest of the semester

WEEK NINE (17,18)

M: How to Brainstorm

In this class session we learn and practice the art and science of brainstorming.

Readings

Deliverables

W: Prototype Workshop

In-class prototyping.
Readings

Deliverables


WEEK TEN (19,20)

M: How to Demo and Test a Prototype

Presentation and research skills for getting the world to talk to you about your prototype.

Readings

Deliverables

W: How to Pitch and Catch

An introduction to the art of catching a pitch and providing iteration-forwarding feedback.
Readings

Deliverables


The Innovation Sprint

WEEK ELEVEN (21,22)

M: Pitch and Catch Parallel Sessions

Your classmates form an evaluation team that gives your project the once over.

Readings

Deliverables

W: Iteration and Your Delta

Making the most of feedback to iterate between prototypes.
Readings

Deliverables


WEEK TWELVE (23,24)

M: Prototype Workshop

In-class prototyping.

Readings

Deliverables

W: Pitch and Catch Parallel Sessions

Your classmates form an evaluation team that gives your project the once over.
Readings

Deliverables


WEEK THIRTEEN (25,26)

M: Prototype Workshop

In-class prototyping.

Readings

Deliverables

W: Pitch and Catch Parallel Sessions

Your classmates form an evaluation team that gives your project the once over.
Readings

Deliverables


WEEK FOURTEEN (27,28)

M: Spare Class

Content TBD depending on direction and progress of class.

Readings

Deliverables

W: Spare Class

Content TBD depending on direction and progress of class.
Readings

Deliverables


WEEK FIFTEEN (29,30)

M: Pitch to the Judges

Student teams pitch ideas to panel of judges.

Readings

Deliverables

W: Pitch to the Judges

Student teams pitch ideas to panel of judges.
Readings

Deliverables