Now make sure it doesn’t die.

I love building products that are well-designed to meet a really important need. I hate. hate. hate. building products that don’t thrive.

My team is very good at building products that are designed to meet a particular user need, in large part because we care about getting it right. By “right,” I mean —

But here’s a secret:

That perfect product is constantly on the precipice of death. It is ready for you to neglect it in one of several common ways so that it can live out…


Results from a survey of top law firm builders

The Janders Dean team had poor enough judgement to invite me to close their annual conference last week in Sydney. Given the number of headlines recently around law firms developing digital products in the last two months alone, I decided to tackle some of these issues — How are law firms building, should they be building, and why.

Yes, I’m keeping this meme alive…sorry!

In advance of the conference, I reached out to a number of friends who are leading the innovation efforts at some of the most product-heavy firms out there to gain a little more insights into these efforts. For background, I surveyed a…


If you look Apple’s App Store, you’ll find a lot of law firm products.

Baker McKenzie has 17 apps in the Apple store with a wide range of functionality and subject matters.

On the justice side, there are some native applications, but not all that many. We see some in the immigration and divorce space most commonly.


The T&P Team reviews the USCIS site.

Here at Theory and Principle, we’ve decided to use law-related applications and sites to highlight some common UX/UI principles. Our goal isn’t to criticize designers — you never know what constraints a designer is dealing with. Rather, we want to look at a range of products, from the very bad to the very good, and use them as instructive lessons on design. We’ll even choose some sites to completely reimagine.

So, let’s get started. Our first nominated site comes from our friend Chase Hertel at the ABA Center for Innovation, and it is [drum rollllllll]…. www.uscis.gov. That’s right, we’re starting…


My company operates under a design-first approach to building software. We also serve a lot of segments — some clients are massive, multi-national, cash-rich law firms. Some are small non-profits focused on delivering legal aid to the poor. Some are legal tech startups, some are large legal technology enterprises. I’d love to say that there is some consistency among each segment on how they value design effort, but it really comes down to client by client and their experiences with design/knowledge of the level of effort.

I’ve seen a prevalence of software development RFPs recently that focus heavily on the…


Two days to a prototype? One low fixed fee? That’s unpossible!

If you’ve spent any time reading popular literature around product development, surely you’ve read Sprint by Jake Knapp, which chronicles Google Venture’s 5-day design bonanza to get a team to a tested, validated, final prototype. The idea sounds great for large SaaS organizations where each function and iteration in the product requires very careful and sustained effort of a group of devoted participants.

The reality in the legal space is that our clients just don’t have the ability to dedicate resources for that lengthy period of time (unless, of course, they are a legal tech SaaS company where this effort…


Prioritize familiarity when building legal tech products.

I recently bought a new car.

I almost went full midlife crisis and bought a Porsche, but since I had just dyed my hair blonde, I figured I would hold off on further midlife crisis-related activities until after I turned 40. I went with a more sensible choice, a Volkswagen.

When you buy a new VW, it comes with Apple Car Play. If you haven’t ever seen this, it’s pretty excellent. With Apple Car Play, you plug your iPhone into the car and the car’s display turns into a mirror of your phone, showing the apps that can be used…


More and more large law firms are building their own software these days. These typically come in two flavors — products for internal use and products that are client-facing.

Based on our experience, the development of products that are client-facing appear to be on the rise as law firms are looking for new ways to generate revenue, increase client loyalty, and develop new pipelines of work.

For those firms, I offer some advice.

There is a wrong way to build software. There are multiple right ways to build software. None of right ways, however, involve skipping design, testing, validation, and…


Sorry, guys.

I recently watched a presentation of a new law-related chatbot. It was a fine concept, but I was thrown off a bit when I heard the presenter talk about how great the interface was. I realized that the creator was talking about the actual chat window, which, sure, are usually pretty clean. But the actual conversation the bot prompted was lengthy and difficult to follow.

When we’re building chatbots, the actual words and conversation become our interface, and they need to be approached in the same way we do visual interfaces. No passes allowed on this one — like any…


Some words of caution with sprinkles of encouragement.

I’ve been referencing this idea in a bunch of different articles and interviews lately, so I thought I’d write out my thoughts in a semi-cohesive way in one place.

This feels like a strange article for me to write. I’m obviously a huge believer in the ability of technology to scale solutions to help provide access to justice — it’s a large part of my company’s work. In recent months, the excitement over what I’ll call “A2J Tech” has reached a fever pitch. You can’t read a publication or peruse Twitter without seeing some reference to a new project, a…

Nicole Bradick

CEO @ Theory and Principle — a legal technology product development firm. Musings on product design, development, legal tech, etc.

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