Roundtable Roundup: Legal Design Thinking

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Roundtable Roundup: Legal Design Thinking

Neota Roundtable Roundup: Legal Design Thinking

The Neota’s global roundtables series provides a community for in-house lawyers to come together, network and share insights with their peers. This event was held in London and we were joined by in-house legal professionals from Nokia, Smiths Group, Deloitte, EY, Royal London Group, and many more. Here are some of the key take-aways from the discussion.

What does ‘Legal Design Thinking’ mean to you?

All our panellists agreed that although ‘Legal Design Thinking’ is a new label that’s become popular over recent years, it’s something that everyone has always been doing.

Legal departments associate this term with thinking about the users, the need they are trying to address, the process and what the output should be in relation to overcoming a particular problem, whether that be with new technology or process improvement. It’s about taking something complex and making it simple for your business.

Legal Design – the good and the bad

When implementing new technology or processes, those involved can sometimes forget how important the design thinking process is. In a previous blog, we spoke about answering these three questions before starting a new project:

  1. What is the goal of this project?
  2. Who is the target audience?
  3. What is the desired output?

By having these in place you can shape the delivery of the project and ensure you have the outcome that your business needs.

Some of our panellists recalled design flaws they had encountered in the past that led to them not using the tool. Many stressed the importance of having an integrated, seamless approach and not just a ‘bolt-on’ at the end. Identifying how other sectors have mastered the art of legal design is important, one of our panellists used the iPhone as an example.

Some in house counsel can be wary of changes. It’s important not only to think about how technology or process improvement can work for the rest of the business but also how they will interact with any new system. Look to introduce solutions that integrate with the tools they are already using every day. In order to get this to work, it’s important to ask for their input and feedback early on in the implementation cycle.

Is technology the best answer?

Once you go through the 3 stages mentioned above you can make an informed decision around whether technology is the right answer. Sometimes it may be a case of re-branding technology that already exists. For example, a legal ticket portal could be re-branded to a ‘legal front door’ with a new user interface that would essentially solve the same issue but your business may be more inclined to use it.

Educating the business may be a simple answer and a good place to start. Many of our panellists mentioned NDA review was a common pain point. Educating the business in how to handle these when they come in could save you further work down the line. They will be more aware which clauses to push back on before going to the legal department for help.

You may find that technology is the right answer. In that case, self-service applications may give you the opportunity to digitalize your knowledge and serve your business effectively. NDA automation is always a good place to start in your self-service journey.

IT Support

Some of our panellists highlighted that help might be available in your organisation, you just have to ask. There might be free IT resource so your legal department can have its own dedicated support. If this is not available, you might also be able to get a secondment from the IT department to help you with a particular implementation. You might be surprised to find that you might also be able to leverage the IT departments technology budget, it’s just a case of asking the right questions and presenting them with enough evidence that this is something you need.

Not all organisations are lucky enough to have a dedicated IT resource. Neota Logic is a no-code tool, which means you don’t need to have IT skills to build your own applications. Some of our panellists stated that you can easily train a paralegal on how to do this.

It’s not just IT support that can help. One of our delegates suggested getting a design agency to ensure you have the right look and feel and they can help you think about the user journey.

If you would like to come along to the next roundtable event please email

Download the PDF version.

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