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Law school podcast: Approaching access to justice with a designer’s mindset

CHICAGO - In the 20th episode of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Planet Lex podcast series, Dean Daniel Rodriguez talks to Margaret Hagan, a fellow at Stanford Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession and a lecturer at Stanford’s Design School, about the use of design thinking to help close the access-to-justice gap.

At Stanford’s Legal Design Lab, Hagan and her colleagues use human-centered design and technology to create innovative solutions for legal services. In this episode, Rodriguez and Hagandiscuss what design thinking’s methodology is and its application in legal structures, the importance of centering technology around the human experience and how lawyers can incorporate a creative and empathetic mindset in their work. They also discuss the limitations of technology when it comes to effective communication.

From the interview:

“There are areas of our legal system that are particularly ripe for a design thinking approach that can be really meaningful and have an impact soon. Especially around family law where there’s not a highly resourced opponent who’s going to use their lobbying power to subvert new designs that make it more user centered. But family law where it’s really about resolving a family in crisis -- on both sides. I think there is an alignment there. That’s why most of our projects end up starting there because it’s such an open area where almost everybody on our stakeholder map all want change.” – Margaret Hagan

About Planet Lex

Northwestern Law Dean Rodriguez hosts and the Legal Talk Network produces the Planet Lex podcast series. The podcasts typically feature interviews with prominent Northwestern faculty members, discussing the law’s role in changing global, societal and technological landscapes. 

Topics of earlier episodes include defending Brendan Dassey; the evolution of music copyright law; sexual misconduct on campus; the regulation of public corruption; technological advancements and the law; law enforcement and implicit bias; and integrating the law and STEM-focused multidisciplinary education; online privacy and cybersecurity; and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Listen to all 20 episodes.