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BYU Law Will Launch Think Tank, LawX, Starting Fall 2017
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Summary: BYU Law is starting the design lab, LawX, in order to solve modern-day legal problems. 

In order to tackle some of today’s most pressing legal issues, Brigham Young University Law School is launching the classroom-based design lab and think tank, LawX. This is the first time BYU Law has offered a design thinking course, and LawX will be available to students, starting fall 2017.


Students in the LawX class will work in a fast-paced startup-like environment, and they will collaborate with computer science and design departments. According to Deseret News, students will be encouraged to solve problems through “process reform, technology or product development,” and the first project is to streamline the process to help self-represented defendants.

LawX will be a small program available to second and third-year law students. It was conceived by Kimball Parker and BYU Law Dean D. Gordon Smith, and Parker will be working as the program’s director.

“LawX will tackle some of the most challenging issues facing our legal system today,” Smith said in a written statement. “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.”

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Parker said that the first project’s purpose is to help those who get sued in Utah but do not have the means to hire an attorney.

“There’s a crisis in law right now and it’s that legal services are very expensive,” Parker said to Deseret News. “(Utah) Supreme Court Justice Constandinos Himonas has pointed out that a massive number of defendants who get sued in our state don’t respond.”

Smith told Deseret News that the legal profession needed an overhaul, and LawX is unique because of the way it blends the legal industry with technology.

“One of the things we’ve thought a lot about is how to prepare our students for changes in legal practice because of technology,” Smith said. “Rather than just sitting in your office and crafting a solution and presenting it to a judge, you’re looking at problems that have solutions that would benefit from a design process … from experimentation, focus groups, prototyping and trial-and-error.”

Smith said LawX will be modeled after Stanford University’s Legal Design Lab, which was launched three years ago and was known for its success.

Parker stated that LawX will tackle a new issue each semester and that the students will devise practical responses, not theoretical proposals.

“We won’t just be thinking of ways to solve these problems, we’ll be building and implementing complete solutions,” Parker said. “We’ll do whatever we need to do.”

BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School was founded in 1971 and has over 6,000 alumni who are serving in communities around the world. According to Lawcrossing, “BYU offers students varied learning experiences—from the Socratic method of teaching and problem solving to seminars requiring individual research to hands-on clinical experiences—and the sum of these experiences helps prepare students to become adept in the range of professional experiences that make up the practice of law.”

Source: Deseret News

What do you think of LawX at BYU Law? Let us know in the comments below.


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