What is legal design?
The legal system was created to be so complex and costly that people wouldn't seek the justice they deserve for fear that courts would be overrun. Despite all the developments in technology and education, little has changed in the overall design of this system.
Legal design is an emerging practice that aims to make law more accessible and user-oriented. It draws on methodologies used in design industries such as design-thinking and service design with legal expertise to reimagine what the legal system should be in the digital era.
Legal design places clients at the heart of the delivery of legal services and provides a framework for understanding the needs of clients. While technology might be part of the solution, it’s never the answer. Legal design focuses on solving human problems with novel solutions.
For the first time we have access to technologies that can transform the way we interact with the justice system and provide legal services. Legal design is the first step in reimagining how we serve our clients and the needs of justice in the digital era.
What we do
We work alongside our clients to optimise existing services, systems and processes to reduce the invisible time spent on low impact tasks and reduce the burden on lawyers.
We also help identify opportunities that are ripe for innovation to create new services and products. We help you every step of the way using empathetic design methodologies from ideation and prototyping to implementation.
Our objective is to promote access to justice and better work-life balance for lawyers by reimagining the legal system and the way we practice law.
We can assist you with:
innovation education and workshops
strategic advice on innovation and digital transformation
organisational redesign and stakeholder engagement
culture issues underlying innovation including creating an environment to support and sustain innovation
innovation communications strategies
assessment of innovation project proposals including experimental design
mentoring and development of innovation projects
creative leadership coaching
Sara spent 10 years practicing as a lawyer in complex litigation and international arbitration spending 6 years with leading international firm King & Wood Mallesons and the remainder at national firm Sparke Helmore. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and Business from the University of Newcastle, Master of Laws from Queen Mary College London and was a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators London.
In 2016, Sara was appointed delegate to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) where she assisted with the design of an online dispute platform for high volume low-value disputes which culminated in UNCITRAL’s Technical Note on Online Dispute Resolution published in 2017. During that experience, Sara realised that legal education and practice did not prepare lawyers for digitising legal processes and so she began exploring other industries to identity key areas for reform. That same year, she was appointed Conjoint Associate Professor at the University of Newcastle in recognition of her achievements in the international arena.
In March 2018, Sara founded Inkling Legal Design, Australia’s first legal design consultancy and one of the first of such consultancies globally with a view to assisting lawyers adopt design methodologies as a foundation to embracing legal technology.
Sara then turned her attention to embedding design principles into legal education. In November 2018, Sara cofounded the Legal Design and Innovation Project at the University of Newcastle which conducts research into how lawyers mindsets impact their approaches to innovation. In December 2018, she also designed and delivered Australia’s first legal design course drawing support from legal innovation thought leaders around the world including CSIRO’s Data61, Janders Dean, Dot Legal Design Consultancy, Josef the Legal Chatbot and Legal Advice ME.
In 2019, Sara graduated from Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design teaching and learning studio intensive where she was trained to teach and create design-thinking curriculums for professionals.