BYU Law launches innovative design lab LawX

  • Dean Gordon Smith and Kimball Parker (Photo: BYU)

LawX, a legal design lab launching at Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School, will use technology to address issues surrounding access to justice.

The program, which was created by BYU Law Dean Gordon Smith and CO/COUNSEL founder Kimball Parker, will debut this fall for second- and third-year BYU Law students. The course is structured as an idea incubator to explore common problems surrounding the legal system and create solutions for non-lawyers. With demanding deadlines and varied responsibilities similar to those they would have at a startup, students will aim to complete one design project per semester.

“LawX will tackle some of the most challenging issues facing our legal system today,” Smith said. “Some gaps in legal services may not be attractive targets for innovation by small, private startups or larger profit-oriented businesses, but closing these gaps would make a tremendous difference to many people who feel priced out of the market for legal services. A legal design lab embedded within a law school is an ideal platform for addressing these issues. LawX will use design thinking to address these problems, and when appropriate, to create products to solve them.” 

For its first project, students participating in the LawX design lab will develop automated software to assist pro se defendants in responding to complaints by answering a series of simple questions. The final product would help those without the resources to hire a lawyer timely respond to a lawsuit and prevent a default judgment. 

“As a practicing attorney, I have seen many instances where technology can make complicated legal processes more straight-forward and stress-free for the average person,” Parker said. “As a startup founder, I also understand the rigorous startup environment and the importance of following a tight timeline to move from concept to product delivery. LawX students will experience the rollercoaster of designing a solution from scratch and releasing it to the world.”  

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