Program tackles gaps in marketplace, providing low-cost legal resources
BYU Law School announced the launch of LawX, a legal design lab that will create products and other solutions to address the pressing issues relating to access to legal services.
“LawX will tackle some of the most challenging issues facing our legal system today,” said Gordon Smith, Dean of BYU Law School. “Some gaps in legal services may not be attractive targets for innovation by small, private startups or larger profit-oriented businesses, but closing these gaps would make a tremendous difference to many people who feel priced out of the market for legal services. A legal design lab embedded within a law school is an ideal platform for addressing these issues. LawX will use design thinking to address these problems, and when appropriate, to create products to solve them.”
LawX was conceived by Dean Smith and Kimball D. Parker. Parker, who developed and founded CO/COUNSEL, a legal education and crowdsourcing website, will teach the corresponding course, debuting in the fall for second- and third-year BYU Law students. With the ambitious goal to solve one legal challenge a semester, the course will be structured as a design-thinking process, in which students will have fast-paced deadlines and responsibilities that are much like being in a startup. The course will be an immersive, hands-on experience by law students in collaboration with students and professors in other departments at BYU.
“I am honored to have been tapped by Dean Smith to lead LawX in what is a groundbreaking venture to use design thinking within a classroom setting,” said Parker. “As a practicing attorney, I have seen many instances where technology can make complicated legal processes more straight-forward and stress-free for the average person. As a startup founder, I also understand the rigorous startup environment and the importance of following a tight timeline to move from concept to product delivery. LawX students will experience the rollercoaster of designing a solution from scratch and releasing it to the world.”
The first LawX project – slated for fall 2017 – will focus on helping self-represented defendants answer a lawsuit. The project will be directed at everyday people who do not understand how to respond to a lawsuit and might not have the resources to hire an attorney.
Writer: Marie Kulbeth