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The Relationship between Legal and Design Cultures: Tension and Resolution

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Publication date21/10/2021
Host publicationLegal Design: Integrating Business, Design and Legal Thinking with Technology
EditorsMarcelo Coralles Compagnucci, Helena Haapio, Margaret Hagan, Michael Doherty
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781839107269
ISBN (Print)9781839107252
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The central thesis of legal design is that service design principles and methods can be usefully applied to legal processes. This necessarily involves lawyers commissioning, participating in, and implementing design projects. This chapter examines anthropological and sociological accounts of professional practice and posits that there are some cultural hurdles to developing this law/design relationship.
There are identifiable lawyerly attributes and mindsets derived from legal culture. This culture is not homogeneous but at its heart are themes of precedent, formality, and textual/verbal articulacy. Design has its own cultural tropes including flexibility, experimentation, and visual literacy. The cultural centres of law and design are some distance apart and this tension may be problematic for those seeking design interventions into law.
These cultural constructs have significant power, but they also exhibit plasticity. The chapter concludes by examining the potential of both cultural change and exchange to ease the process of introducing human-centred design characteristics into legal practices.