Teaching and Learning Seminar Series – ‘The Design of Everyday Legal Education: Using design thinking in mainstream legal education projects’ by Prof. Michael Doherty (Online)

Teaching and Learning Seminar Series – ‘The Design of Everyday Legal Education: Using design thinking in mainstream legal education projects’ by Prof. Michael Doherty (Online)

Legal design is an emerging field involving the application of service design methods and mindsets to legal problems e.g. in access to justice projects or for clearer contracts (M Hagan, Law by Design 2015). Its interaction with legal education has focussed, so far, on providing design training for students via elective programmes (D Jackson ‘Human-Centred Legal Tech: Integrating design in legal education’ (2016) Law Teacher 82-97).

This seminar will outline the nature and development of legal design and focus on using design thinking as a development framework, mindset and methodology for all sorts of mainstream legal education development projects.

It will outline how design thinking can promote deep collaboration, genuine student-centredness and innovative and inclusive outcomes in legal education projects of all kinds. Attendees will be introduced to key design thinking methods (M Stickdorn, Service Design Doing (O’Reilly 2016)) together with examples of their use in curriculum development projects and will be encouraged to consider their applicability to their own current projects or legal education challenges.

The methods and tools will include: project planning so as to build in deep collaboration; building user personas to keep student experience visible in decision-making; designing a universal icon set to demonstrate linked learning between modules; and service safaris where staff walk in the footsteps of students to try to better understand their experiences.

About the Speaker:
Michael Doherty is Professor of Law, and Associate Head of the Law School, at Lancaster University, UK. His main substantive areas of teaching and research are constitutional law and human rights and he is author (with Dr Noel McGuirk) of Public Law (3rd edn, Routledge 2022). His key interests in higher education are teaching and learning in law, and he co-created the Connecting Legal Education online community in 2020. He has been winner of the Routledge Teaching Law with Technology, ALT Conference Best Poster, and ALT Conference Best Joint Paper prizes. He was Director of Teaching and Learning at Lancashire Law School, UCLan for 15 years and is responsible for pedagogic development at his present law school. He was elected Chair of the Association of Law Teachers (ALT) in 2004 and served on the ALT committee for 8 years.

Professor Doherty’s recent publications include;

  • ‘Comprehensibility as a Rule of Law Requirement: the Role of Legal Design in Delivering Access to Law’ (2020) 8(1) Journal of Open Access to Law
  • (with Tina McKee) ‘Service Design Comes to Blackstone’s Tower: Applying Design Thinking to General Legal Education Programme Development’ in Allbon E and Perry-Kessaris A (eds) Design and Visualisation in Legal Education (Routledge 2021)
  • ‘The Relationship between Legal and Design Cultures: Tension and Resolution’ in Marcelo Corrales, Helena Haapio, Margaret Hagan and Michael Doherty (eds), Legal Design: Integrating Business, Design, & Legal Thinking with Technology (Edward Elgar forthcoming 2021)


01 Jun 2021


5:00 pm - 6:00 pm