Avainsana: design thinking

6. Episode: Legal Services from Client Perspective with Juha Saarinen

Juha Saarinen

Lawyers and law firms often consider themselves as client-centric. But what the clients of private legal services think of ”client-centrism”? In this episode Henna and Nina talk to Juha Saarinen, Head of People & Operations Legal in Nordea Bank Finland, to find out what end-users really want from their legal services.

Law firms only exist because of their clients. But do law firms really put their clients first?  Are they constantly looking for new ways of working to provide better and more efficient customer experiences, or are they actually happy with the same old, same old? Many law firms advertise themselves as client-centric, but the reality may not be more than just a buzzword on the brochure. Impressing the client by bringing an army of lawyers to a meeting may actually just be the most expensive cup of coffee he or she ever had. 

One reason why private legal services are slow to change is the billable hours business model logic. To put it roughly: the more hours a lawyer works, the more money he or she can charge the customer. But shouldn’t quality defeat quantity, also in legal work? Do people really need lawyers interpreting other lawyers by writing walls of text, or would the tailored user experience and legal tech solutions be the new money making machine for the legal industry? Would that also help lawyers to live more balanced, happier lives?

Legal expertise is not enough to guarantee competitive edge for any law firm. Legal end-users want something more from their legal services than just legal knowledge: openness, sense of ownership and control. This is where Legal Design can help law firms to win their clients’ hearts. Instead of assuming that lawyers and legal services are client-centric by nature, maybe we should start asking our clients what they really need. If you haven’t asked that in a while, you can start by listening to this episode.

Juha Saarinen works at Nordea as a Head of People & Operations Legal and he is in charge of the legal operations in the legal unit of the Nordea Bank Finland. Juha is an experienced legal counsel with a history of working especially in the retail and financial industry. Juha’s goal is to take the legal unit to a new era by experiencing the wonders of legal tech and legal design and also enforcing some new thinking within the legal and financial industry.

Juha is now pushing onwards with legal operations and targeting the day-to-day efficiency and effectiveness of the legal team, facilitating change, controlling costs and managing external service providers.

5. Episode: Innovation in Courts with Andrea Lindblom

Andrea Lindblom

Courts, like all legal institutions, are designed for lawyers. However, the people whose lives going to court affect the most are the legal laymen. How these real end-users of courts would benefit, if their needs were addressed by re-designing the court experience?

In this fifth episode of the podcast series we talk about the possibilities of innovation, technology and legal design in courts with Andrea Lindblom, who works as the Chief of Administration in the District Court of Helsingborg, Sweden. 

Courts are known to be the blind services of the justice, pursuing objectivity, formality and the rule of law. For non-lawyers, however, a court process can be full of obscurities and evoke feelings of disconnection, anxiety and lack of control over one’s own case, not to mention the possibility of financial losses. For most of the people going to court is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, often leaving bitter-sweet memories that last for life. But what if legal design could help make the court experience more satisfying, and not just for the end-users but the lawyers as well?

Making courts more human-centric is not the only update courts might need these days. Courts are struggling to keep up with the rapid technological development and the new ways of providing court services in the digital world – all while resources are tight and case numbers going high. Experimenting for new ideas does not come easy, though, as lawyers are traditionally trained to look backwards when solving problems. Design thinking mindsets such as ”fail fast” and ”be curious” are rarely combined to the work done in courts.

How to initiate the needed change in courts, Andrea? “I think it is quite urgent that courts have an open mindset towards, for example, new  technology, and new ways of doing things. We need to find ways to experiment lightly, gently, because it’s much better for us to fail small and early in a process, then massively and late”.

Andrea Lindblom graduated from Lund University (law) in 2009. She has been working at Helsingborg District Court since 2011. During the last few years she has focused on issues relating to the presence of the courts and judges on social media and how digitalization affects the courts. In March 2019 Helsingborg District Court arranged Sweden’s first legal tech & design workshop in the public sector. Andrea was awarded Legal Innovator of the Year in 2019 and was one of the winners in the category Public Services, Politics & Social at European Women of Legal Tech in 2020.

4. Episode: Behavioral Insights into Law with David Tannenbaum

David Tannenbaum

In this episode Nina and Henna talk about nudging and its possibilities and pitfalls in legal design with David Tannenbaum, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management at the University of Utah’s Eccles School of Business.

Where law seeks to influence human behavior by setting obligations, legal design aims to make those obligations easier to understand and follow by using human centric design methods. Sometimes these methods can encompass behaviorally informed ”nudges”. In behavioral economics nudges are defined as any kind of interventions in the physical or social environment that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. So to say, nudges make certain decisions easier, yet without limiting one’s freedom of choice. To put it simply, nudging means guiding people to make better choices by modifying the environment and choice architecture. A fitness app nudges with activity notifications, so does a car navigator showing the best route options.

Nudging, however, also has a reputation of being a psychological trick used in product marketing: those chocolate bars placed next to a cash register at your grocery store aren’t there just by random. But should legal products such as contracts and court documents use nudging too? Or do they nudge already?

Nudging just might be one of the misunderstood concepts and rarely used intentionally in the legal world. Years ago, when Henna wanted to attend a conference about nudging, her manager at that time thought it was a self help course about managing one’s own personal life that had nothing to do with law and didn’t let her attend the event. However, after Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein published their book Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness in 2008 nudging has gained public awareness and has also become a popular alternative to traditional regulation in various governments and administrations around the world, especially in angosaxon jurisdictions.

Despite the controversial reputation nudging may have, it is good to remember that our environment influences us anyway.  As our guest David reminds, “every day, all the time, everywhere you go, there’s nudging going on”. Nudging is not a legal concept, but as lawyers and legal designers still influence the decisions of their clients and peers, it is better to be aware of the power of nudge and learn to use it ethically and wisely.

David Tannenbaum is an assistant professor in the department of management at the University of Utah’s Eccles School of Business. His research focuses on decision making under uncertainty, and its applications to public policy. Link to David Tannenbaum’s website: https://davetannenbaum.github.io

3. Episode: DIY Legal Help with Erin Levine

Erin Levine

In this episode Henna and Nina talk about DIY Legal Help with Erin Levine, legal innovator and entrepreneur from California.

Erin shares the story behind her revolutionary online divorce platform Hello Divorce. The DIY platform helps people applying for divorce to navigate through the divorce process independently. Erin tells us who are the potential users for DIY legal help services and how technology has changed the way her team of lawyers work today. We also discuss what else should be changed in the legal industry by design. Why is it important to mitigate the negative image of legal problems, such as divorce? Do we also need a platform “Hello Bankruptcy”? And what is the one thing that almost all customers want from their legal services? Nina gets goosebumps by Erin’s inspiring mission to promote justice through tech, yet promises not to divorce her husband.

Erin Levine is a legal innovator, entrepreneur, and Certified Family Law Specialist. She is the CEO and Founder of Hello Divorce, an award winning online platform that helps self-represented folks navigate the divorce process on their own through a web platform, accessing legal help when they need additional help along the way.  As a young adult, she brought criminal and civil charges against a former gymnastics coach, and experienced the legal system as chaotic, confusing, and amplifying her trauma rather than bringing justice. She later became a divorce litigator. 

Despite her success as a law firm owner, she realized there must be a better way and pivoted into justice-technology. Erin works relentlessly to simplify family law, reduce trauma for those seeking relief from the court and help people get back on their feet. Her design centered and sustainable approach to the delivery of legal services has been recognized by the legal industry and beyond with recent accomplishments that include the American Bar Association‘s James I. Keane Memorial Award for Excellence in E-lawyering and Duke University School of Law’s Legal Tech Accelerator – Grand Prize. Erin’s current projects include raising her two daughters, Zoe and Mia, along with managing the national roll out of Hello Divorce’s products and services.

2. Episode: At the Intersection of Legal and Design Thinking with Michael Doherty

Michael Doherty

Should legal texts be written in the form of poems? Is legal design legal science? What happens when legal and design cultures collide? In the second episode of the podcast series Henna and Nina discuss with Michael Doherty about the relationship between law and design disciplines from philosophical, educational and cultural point of views.

In this episode we also find out that comprehensibility in law is not a new trend, but has been discussed through times. What will it take to make it mainstream? In this episode Henna is let loose and gets to ask funny questions about her law school nemesis, Legal Theory.

Michael Doherty is Professor of Law, and Associate Head of the Law School, at Lancaster University, UK. His main teaching and research areas have been constitutional law and human rights and he is author of Public Law, 3rd ed. (Routledge, 2021). His key interest in higher education has been teaching and learning in law, and he co-created the Connecting Legal Education online community in 2020. He has been the Director of Teaching and Learning at his former and current law schools for over 15 years. He was elected Chair of the Association of Law Teachers in 2004 and served on the ALT committee for 8 years.

Prof. Doherty’s recent publications include ’Comprehensibility as a rule of law requirement: the role of legal design in delivering access to law’ (2020) in 8(1) Journal of Open Access to Law; ’The Relationship between Legal and Design Cultures: Tension and Resolution’ in M Corrales, H Haapio, M Hagan and M Doherty (eds), Legal Design: Integrating Business, Design, & Legal Thinking with Technology (Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2021); ’Re-imagining a law degree: Using service design methods in curriculum design’ (with Tina McKee) in E Allbon & A Perry-Kessaris (ed), Design and Visualisation in Legal Education: Access to the Law (Routledge, forthcoming 2021).

1. Episode: Introduction to Legal Design with Lina Krawietz

Lina Krawietz

In this first episode of the podcast series Henna and Nina introduce you to legal design with Lina Krawietz, the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of This is Legal Design.

In this episode we cover the basics of Legal Design. What is Legal Design and why do we need it? Does design thinking change how lawyers work? How to implement design thinking into client work? We also discuss about Legal Design impact and if it is possible to determine the business value of Legal Design. What kind of added value can the improved user experience have in legal services?

Lina Krawietz is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of This is Legal Design, a Berlin based innovation consultancy, specialized in legal innovation. As a Legal Designer, with a background in law, design & legal technology, she helps law firms, legal departments and legal tech companies to identify their innovation potential and develop meaningful, human-centered solutions. Lina is also the Co-Editor in Chief of the legal innovation journal ”REthinking Law”. In November 2020 she was awarded the European Women of Legal Tech Award in the category of professional services.

The article mentioned in this episode is A Framework Theory of Legal Design for the Emergence of Change in the Digital Legal Society, by Joaquín Santuber & Lina Krawietz together with Dr. Jonathan Antonio Edelman and Babajide Owoyele (2019). The article can be read on Dunker & Humblot eLibrary here.