Instructor(s): Gillian Hadfield, Dan Ryan

For graduate students, the course number is LAW7107H.

Location: Claude T. Bissell Building (140 St. George Street), room 116.

Class meetings update:  This class will meet weekly for two hours beginning at 4:20 pm.

This class operates as a workshop, or incubator, in which students generate legal innovations that can help solve a problem worth solving such as improving access to justice, building regulatory regimes that can better handle global digital business and artificial intelligence, or providing better platforms for people in poor and developing countries to connect to the global economy or protect human rights. Students will learn to use and implement the tools of human-centred design to bring fresh thinking to the challenges we face in our legal systems. Working in teams, students will develop working prototypes of solutions such as transactional platforms, smartphone apps, or services that address a significant legal need or problem. The final project will be a pitch to (fictional or real) stakeholders who need to be convinced to adopt the solution, such as investors, users, judges or regulators.

Pre-requisite: Students must have completed either the one-unit reading course Problems in Legal Design (Fall term) or completed background research in consultation with Prof. Hadfield during the fall term prior to the start of the course. The aim of the prerequisite is for students to have gained familiarity with problems in the legal system and to have written a short statement of a problem worth solving prior to the start of the lab, although students will not be committed to devoting their lab work to a problem they initially identify. Students are encouraged to identify potential team-members they might like to work with to take the course with them.

Students will be evaluated on both the product they produce and the process by which they get there. 40% of the final grade will be based on performance on in-class exercises (such as providing feedback to other teams, creation of personas representing users, competitive analysis, and prototypes), evidence of incremental improvement and pivoting along the path to the final project. The final project is worth 60% with equal weight attributed to a written report of approximately 2000 words per team member, a presentation, and a process book that records research and iterations. Attendance at all classes is mandatory.

At a Glance

Second Term



34 JD


W: 4:20 - 6:20