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

Visualisation in Contract Education and Practice: The First 25 Years

by Helena Haapio

Lawyers are often accused of making contracts complex and user-unfriendly: too verbose, expensive to make and manage, and impossible to implement for people without legal training. In recent years, voices calling for a major shift have started to be heard, and contract simplification and visualisation have gained momentum.

Lawyers increasingly participate in contract planning and management. They need to explain their views to others, often across multi-professional teams. Clients need guidance in how to respond to contract proposals and how to frame their negotiation points. Technologists developing smart contracts or AI solutions need to understand what contracts mean. For the lawyer advising them it is not just about knowing the law, it is also about communicating, capturing agreements and objectives, and making the meaning of contracts and law visible. Lawyers need knowledge, skills, and tools to help others understand and act upon their advice. They need to be prepared for contracts and law in action, not just in books. Visuals can help in this endeavour.

How can we prepare ourselves and our students for a world where contracts may need to be designed and not just drafted? Building on the author’s quarter-century work with visualisation in contract education and practice, this chapter illustrates why and how the world of contracting is changing and how lawyers can be better equipped to both cope and contribute. The chapter shows, with examples, how visuals can be used to generate insights and understanding, prevent unnecessary disputes, and pave the path to next generation contracts.


Helena Haapio is an Associate Professor of Business Law at the University of Vaasa, Finland, an Adjunct Professor of Proactive Law and Contract Design at the University of Lapland and a Contract Strategist at Lexpert Ltd, Helsinki. After completing legal studies at the University of Turku, Finland, and Cambridge University, England, she served for several years as in-house Legal Counsel in Europe and the USA. A pioneer of the Proactive Law approach, she has for many years promoted the use of simplification and visualization in commercial contracting. Her multidisciplinary research focuses on ways to enhance the functionality and usability of contracts through design.

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