Design in Legal Education

A visually rich, experience-led collection
exploring what design can do for legal education.

A visually rich, experience-led collection exploring what design can do for legal education.

In recent decades design has increasingly come to be understood as a resource to improve other fields of public, private and civil society practice. Today legal design – that is, the application of design-based methods to legal practice – is increasingly embedded in lawyering across the world.

This new publication brings together experts from multiple disciplines, professions and jurisdictions to reflect upon how designerly mindsets, processes and strategies can enhance teaching and learning across higher education, public legal information and legal practice. It will be of interest and use to those teaching and learning in any and all of those fields.

A conversation between the editors

Emily Allbon

Emily Allbon

Associate Professor of Law
City Law School
Amanda Perry-Kessaris

Amanda Perry-Kessaris

Professor of Law
Kent Law School

Explore the chapters

Taking our interactive co-design workshop online

by Emily Allbon, Rachel Warner

This piece offers an insight into a practical, information-gathering workshop carried out as part of the ‘discover’ design phase of our project with the civil liberties organisation, Liberty. Liberty came to us with a challenge: to identify how information design might help to make their web-based legal advice more accessible, useful, and understandable. Our project focuses on three distinct topics within their advice provision: stop and search, police complaints and immigration.

Designing information that will be used by people during intensively disruptive times in their lives – contexts in which the person needing information may themselves be under great pressure or experiencing feelings of disconnect or turmoil, poses significant challenges for the designer and we explore some of those here. Each of the three topics above involve very different contexts, and the hurdles clients face along their journeys are diverse as a result.

The pandemic and resultant disruption meant that workshop needed to shift online, and we give a flavour of our methods, tools and findings in this chapter, as well as the aspects of the project that make it unique.

Emily Allbon is an Associate Professor at the City Law School (City, University of London), moving into academia seven years ago from her previous career in legal librarianship. She is known for her work in developing the award-winning Lawbore resource – a website to support and engage those studying law, as well as for her work in the field of Legal Design. She was proud to launch TL;DR – the less textual legal gallery in late 2019 – which showcases ways of making law more accessible to all. Her work has been recognised in many ways, both by her previous profession (Wildy/BIALL Law Librarian of the Year 2012) and the academic law community (Best paper in Legal Education and Technology at BILETA 2012, Routledge/Association of Law Teachers (ALT) Teaching Law with Technology Prize 2013). In 2013 the Higher Education Academy named her one of 55 National Teaching Fellows – the UK’s most prestigious awards for excellence in higher education teaching and support for learning. Emily is a Senior Fellow of the HEA. Her academic background includes degrees in English Literature, Law, Information Science and Academic Practice. Her interests lie in legal education, legal research and legal information literacy, student engagement, legal design and visualisation, and the use of technology in teaching and learning.

Rachel Warner is a Lecturer at the Typography & Graphic Communication department, University of Reading. She is a design practitioner having worked across different sectors from the charity sector to publishing and has PhD in Communication design from the University of Reading. Her PhD research focusses on design for decision making with the aim of understanding how design and design practice contribute to the effective provision of information that supports decision-making activities. She is particularly interested in understanding how designers work within considerations that impact their design practice, how outcomes from research can have practical application within these real-world domains, and bringing research activities into teaching opportunities within Higher Education.

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