Examining Law through a Creative Lens

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Today’s lawyers practice more than just law, performing important roles as consultants, problem-solvers and strategists. In response to this evolving market, Villanova Law introduced a newly-enhanced curriculum that provides graduates with both the academic and practical skills necessary for success. Core to this new approach are mandatory learning modules that teach students to connect vital business principles with the everyday practice of the law.

After participating in the learning modules, students in Villanova Law’s Corporate Law Society wanted to further hone their new skills. So they organized the School’s Legal Design Jam, a creative, cross-disciplinary exercise in which participants give an extreme, user-centric makeover to a target legal document. The John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship hosted the challenge.

“I was looking for something active that we could do,” said Ian Livaich ’18, co-vice president of the Corporate Law Society. “I took my ideas to professors Melanie McMenamin and Mary Ann Robinson. They were familiar with Legal Design Jams and thought it would be a good exercise for students.”

During a collaborative, hands-on session, Legal Design Jam participants ideate and prototype a new version of a legal document, incorporating imagery and graphical presentations, and simplifying language and updating layouts, all with attention to the principles of good storytelling and user needs.

For this Design Jam, teams of Villanova Law students were challenged to create an accessible, user-friendly version of Uber’s Limitation of Liability Provision.  

“Attorneys are now challenged to find more effective and engaging ways to communicate legal information to our clients and on their behalf,” said Melanie McMenamin, Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Clinic for Law and Entrepreneurship. “Visual presentations that incorporate creative thinking are a powerful tool to meet these needs. Using this approach, legal professionals are reimagining everything from website terms of use for corporate clients to explanations of rights and obligations for clients who have limited English skills.”

“The Uber example melded corporate law and entrepreneurship well,” said Livaich. “Through the exercise, we were able to apply the lessons we’ve learned in class and boil down a complex problem into a simple and concise visualization.”

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