“Home at last”.
That’s how I felt at the Legal Design Summit in Helsinki co-founded by Antti Innanen and Johanna Rantanen, as I was surrounded by creative, human-centered and action driven legal professionals, designers and technologists from around the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a dreamer or a “wannabe artist”. I love the law and I’m obsessed with quality and results. I’ve always had the desire to seek out ways to do things better and learn new concepts.
I felt I’d found a hidden gem, when I discovered Legal Design. It’s a truly powerful tool when you have no time and limited resources. Simply because starting from the users changes everything. As an in-house counsel, you will no longer be the business fun-police, but someone your internal clients trust and rely on. Even better, your advice, solutions and tools will be easily adopted and implemented, just because the people supposed to apply them will have participated in their definition and setting up. It sounds so obvious.
Now, you might wonder how does a Magic Circle lawyer turned in-house general counsel embark on legal design? Lack of resources and need for greater efficiency is my answer.
I was VP Legal EMEA at a global beauty group, in charge of a team tackling broad legal issues for a portfolio of 28+ brands in 17 affiliates and 30 countries. Doing more with less was the standard, which will sound familiar to many in-house lawyers.
So, I thought “tools” will be my best friends. Automation, AI, bots: anything that could help me be quicker, handle more volume, reduce human errors…LegalTech of course. Great. But, after all this, I was still left with long agreement templates, heavy compliance Powerpoints and “the gap”. You know, that huge space between the law and those supposed to apply it.
Then I realized that a number of reputable scholars at Stanford and Vaasa University had been reinventing the practice of law for a couple of years, aiming at creating legal content that people want to read.
After having voraciously read every article or book I could find, and met the awesome crew of Open Law, off I went to the Brain Factory in Helsinki: a 48-hour legal design sprint facilitated by inspiring lawyers and designers. Exploring, prototyping and…pitching.
My co-designers were half my age and thanks to the LD ideation tools and methods, we thought-up an abundance of ideas to tackle our legal design challenge. The whole process — ideating, co-creating, prototyping and quickly testing made it possible to conceptualize and create clear, usable and engaging legal solutions.
And it worked! Clients were looking at me differently, asking for “more” compliance training (who knew?) and redesigned agreements.
As to joining the Dot. team, frankly that was a no brainer. Let me share with you my top 5 reasons:
1. Dot.’s pioneering spirit is truly inspiring: our team members Antti and Johanna co-founded the Legal Design Summit, the largest Legal Design event in the world, set up the first legal design agency and get into new, exciting challenges almost every day;
2. The Dot. team is hugely talented, diverse and generous: they’re not just IP, M&A, privacy and design specialists from Finland and Australia, they are also on a mission to create a Legal Design movement and assist people to learn about the approach for themselves. The team created the first Legal Design Canvas and other resources for everyone to use and share;
3. Margaret Hagan, the “Legal Design guru” at Stanford’s d.school, acts as an advisor to Dot. Let’s just say this speaks for itself;
4. They’re good people. And fun. And trustworthy. And cool;
5. It’s unfair…that all the awesome stuff only happens in the Nordics or Bay Area, right?