This white paper takes a picture of the present and the past. But what about the future?

Failing to predict exactly how the legal design market will develop we can explore different scenarios and hypotheses with the support of today’s data and trends.

_Legal and the designer

Legal Design as a discipline has developed considerably in recent months, in the corporate world as in our everyday life. The main face of that development is the Legal designer.

In 2021 you don't need a state exam to be a Legal Designer. Former lawyers are Legal Designer, companies are recruiting Legal designers graduated from design school. Will this be the same in 2030? The future is uncertain but the reconciliation of the two paths of Law and Design was achieved through training, in academics works but also - as often in design, through projects, some of which are presented on this website.

_First seeds of Legal Design training

But where to train? Lieke Beelen's Legal Design Lab is giving us a first answer to this question: maybe at TU Delft | Industrial Design Engineering, where the leading Dutch legal design professionals in education and practice came together?

The Dutch Legal Design Lab has carried out all kinds of (research) projects for a fairer society and has brought together design students, law students, educational / academic institutions and public and commercial organizations to tackle the problems occurring when creating an access to justice project. This allowed a close collaboration between research and concrete project, between public and private which will directly affect social lives in the Netherlands but also international business.

In France Global Institute for Law & Innovation ed by Laura Fauqueur is a young startup created in 2019, specializing in the innovative production of academic content (Certificates, DU, Research projects, Publications, Conferences) which focus on disruptive technologies (LegalTech, Blockchain, IA, Data Science etc.) and whose value proposition is as follows: rethink, train and innovate.

Bringing together public and private talents in innovative technologies, this young Institute trains (University Diploma LegalTech, University Diploma Scientific Data Management in 2021. 1st University Diploma in Legal Design in Europe in 2022) students from all over the world and connects research and business to invent the legal professions of tomorrow. A lawyer school in Paris also integrated Legal Design as one of the axes of its « lab ».

An industrial design University, a French training start-up, University Diploma, these training programs foreshadow a variety of institutions that can accommodate the teaching of Legal and Design together. Will this variety spread? Are we going to see law schools offering design modules? And what about management and business schools, economics faculties? And of course, will design schools integrate this as a worthy opportunity for their students to transform life through law? I hope so and the future will tell, but it is the success of the former that will motivate the latter.

_The trainers of Legal Design

The trainers for Legal and Design are already showing an interesting variety of profiles. Communication professionals, current or former lawyers, industrial designers, information designers, product designers. This is the sign of a discipline that welcomes bold people that have desires to make a change and also to make business in a new market.

This variety helps because of the multidisciplinary aspect of Legal Design. Everyone brings their expertise, vision, knowledge. It also creates great differences in the content and outcomes of these trainings, which sometimes lead to an excessive fragmentation of legal design practices.

It seems obvious but two profiles are mandatory in the training of Legal Design: Designers and Lawyers. The Designer approach allow the never ending questioning, the ability to test, to prototype, to create and create again without fear of failing because you can adapt to your user. The absence of a trained designer in any Legal Design training should be avoided as it deprive students of the essential process of rethinking the status quo, something all designer know (or are supposed to know) how to do. The standard shall be set for the future : no legal design without some professionally trained designer somewhere in the process, as an actor, as a trainer.

_The effects of Legal Design on Law and Design community

Project management has been used in Law for big, complex projects that included for example transnational regulations and teams. But adding design principles to legal projects brings under the spotlights not only the question of regulations but also of the citizen, of how this regulation is understood, applied. Design has an effect on access to justice and the Lexia lab project in south America is a good example of that.

Design also influences the legal counsel and his role. The link between law and strategy has been proven as law can help to take decision that will impact the business. Design with its user centric approach has also a link with strategy. Examples of companies that have placed design at the core of their strategy are numerous. Why not imagine a law firm, a legal department of big company for example, that would position this function at the same level?

Legal Design also helps the lawyer to put everything in perspective: their users, the role of law, the strategic position they have with other actors (internal partners, …). These questions are or almost always asked in Legal Design and this put the legal counsels in a strategist, project manager role by design.

_Some new challenges

This strategy and project management role is not really about numbers numbers. The future relations between Legal design and Legal Operation roles therefore needs to be addressed, (not answered for now, as legal operations are almost as “work in progress” as legal design as a business practice!). According to the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) legal operations is all the responsibilities of a legal department that aren’t law itself. It can be budget management, efficiency and productivity, communication, knowledge management, vendor management, technology, change management and data analysis (

Such a definition would obviously include Design but we have not seen this inclusion yet, with a focus on numbers, KPIs, tech. This is normal as in-house legal must also prove that they create value and are not just cost centers. But in the future, will we continue this focus on numbers for Legal Operations? Will design and legal operations be more associated as for example is the case in Ubisoft legal team, where innovation, design and legal operations are in the mandate of the same team? This association would actually be a great one as design is sometimes consider away from financial and cost issues. But as we consider design as a strategy tool, it should be assessed as a potential driving force for innovation, costs reduction and promoting added value.

Legal innovation, technologies, operations, design do not have to be dissociated but on the contrary associated and merged to created 360 legal services.

_The business of Legal design

Legal Design is growing, fast and strong. Looking back at 2017 we can see a shift in how big law firms and legal departments approach the topic. Where will we be in 2025 ? In 2051 ?

As a community we must ask ourselves the above questions that will shape the business of Legal Design. Hoping to have an active role in this, Ubisoft, a leading digital experience company has created a legal innovation team that put design at the core of nearly each of its activities. We want to share experiences and good practices learned in an innovative industry such as video games. These lessons can be valuable in other businesses and one of the important ones are to always listen to the players, innovate to survive, challenge ourselves and the status quo.

Although competition is also present, the Legal Design has also shown a tremendous will to collaborate, join forces. This should continue as more and more legal departments, companies, freelances, young professionals wish to enter the business and bring their different views, backgrounds, mindsets and make us all question ourselves, as all Legal designers are supposed to do 😊

Jean-Philippe DOHO Legal Innovation Manager Ubisoft Entertainment