What will I learn?


Why don’t government – and especially legal – systems work for people?

The legal system is confusing, expensive, and exhausting. And worse, people have to use it when they are facing some of the worst moments of their life: when they’re getting divorced, getting evicted from their home, having been fired from their job, or facing bankruptcy.

It’s a system meant to help people solve their problems, but it doesn’t work for most people. Thousands of Californians who can’t afford a lawyer try to use the system on their own, but they can’t do so correctly or efficiently. Some courts, responding to this crisis, have made user experience a priority. They are trying to figure out how to empower people to navigate court wisely, on their own.

In this class, we will partner with local California courts to prototype and pilot new ways to make the legal system serve people without lawyers. Our focus will be on implementation and evaluation of new designs. We aim to deliver projects to the courts that they can pilot immediately. We will draw on a bank of ideas and research from earlier classes at the d.school to jumpstart our work.

Students will work on teams to build robust prototypes of new visual, product, and service designs, and then test them on site in the courts. They will evaluate which designs can make the legal system more human, more comprehensible, and more supportive to people. They will deliver these prototypes, along with service design maps, key user insights, and testing results to the court, in order to spur on changes in the system.

We encourage students with no background in law to apply. We especially welcome those with an interest in how design can be used to enhance social justice and dignity, and those who are interested in tackling complex systems challenges.


Learn With

Teaching Team

Margaret Hagan, Lecturer in design and law
Kursat Ozenc, PhD in Design, SAP Labs


Any questions?

How can I contact the teaching team?

Email us at: mdhagan@stanford.edu