Legal Design for Practice, Activism, Policy, and Research

26 Pages Posted: 22 May 2019

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Date Written: June 2019


This article offers an original integrated introduction to how to think about what design can do for law; where to find examples of legal design; and how to assess it. It identifies clear points of contact between lawyerly concerns and designerly skills, knowledge, and attitudes. It proposes 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 article foregrounds the, hitherto unrecognized, diversity of existing legal design practice by drawing examples from 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.

Suggested Citation

Perry-Kessaris, Amanda, Legal Design for Practice, Activism, Policy, and Research (June 2019). Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 46, Issue 2, pp. 185-210, 2019, Available at SSRN: or

Amanda Perry-Kessaris (Contact Author)

Kent Law School ( email )

Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NS
United Kingdom

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