Thanks to @carolynelefant and this post on Open Law Lab, I learned of the “Law Design Jam” being held on October 11, 2013, at Stanford University. Go here for the invitation.
The tagline for the event is “Legal contracts, licenses and policies are now long, dull, difficult and boring documents. Come change that!” Here’s how the event is described:
A Legal Design Jam is a design-driven hackathon to reimagine how we visualize and communicate legal information. It brings together motivated individuals from different fields (law, design, education, journalism, computer science & beyond). Together, we give an extreme, user-centric, visual makeover to a legal document.
During an intensive hands-on workshop, the group will brainstorm and prototype a new version of a legal document, creating visualizations in order to further clarify the trickiest parts of the text.
It sounds like a worthwhile event. I have just one suggestion:
I’m used to Johnny-come-latelies who think that they’re the only people who have had occasion to consider, say, contract automation. When it comes to business contracts, I suspect that no one has given as much airtime to issues of document design as I have. So for purely selfish reasons, I’d be interested to have those behind the Legal Design Jam take my analysis into account, particularly if they have different ideas.
The most up-to-date statement of my views is in chapters 4 and 16 of the third edition of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, but here are some relevant blog posts:
- Can Visualizations Make It Easier to Understand Defined Terms? (August 19, 2013)
- Get Rid of First-Line Indents in Paragraphs Without Enumeration? (September 23, 2012)
- Ellen Lupton Weighs In on Document Design for Contracts (June 26, 2012)
- The MSCD Enumeration Scheme: A Manifesto (February 27, 2012)
- Revisiting the Layout of Australian Contracts (February 12, 2012)
- Adding Document-Design Bling to Contracts? (December 1, 2011)
- Using “Visualizations” in Contracts (November 7, 2011)
- Typography: Revisiting My Choice of Calibri (April 21, 2010)