The Michigan State University Center for Law, Technology & Innovation recently completed an experiment that I’m already prepared to call a success. I also hope that it will be a model for other law schools to try.

We called it the 2021 Michigan State University Rising 2L Legal Design Challenge.

The challenge question was:

How can online methods and lessons learned from COVID increase access to justice?

We divided the participating students into teams or 3 or 4, taught them some standard design thinking approaches, and encouraged them to unloose their creativity. The challenge took the form of a two-week sprint that concluded with short presentations and judging. Our judges were MSULaw alums Amani Smathers and Brian Pike.

The ideas focused on tenant rights, appeals of “bad paper discharges” for veterans, and eliminating crosstalk and other audio issues in online hearings that can ruin transcripts for appeals.

Impressive work all around.

I’ve put up an edited video of the final session, with presentations, the announcement of winners and judges’ comments, and some student comments on their experience on the Video Resources page of the Center for Law, Technology & Innovation website. I invite you to check it out.

I’m so encouraged that I’m already thinking of ideas for a similar contest in the fall.

If you are interested in doing something similar at your law school, I’d be happy to share my insights and learnings.

Watch video here.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

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