We envision a world where everyone is empowered to use the law. We are an innovation laboratory working to imagine, design, test, and implement pioneering approaches to providing legal information, legal services, and legal education. We seek outcomes that advance the democratization of law by:
- partnering with individuals and communities to identify unmet legal needs and design responsive solutions;
- cultivating knowledge and experiences from multiple disciplines and social perspectives to shed new insight on barriers to legal empowerment; and
- transforming legal education to create new means of connecting people to law, legal information, and services.
Northeastern University School of Law’s NuLawLab employs structured creative processes such as “design thinking” to identify, implement and assess solutions to some of the most significant challenges facing legal education and the profession.
Inspired by the School of Law’s historical educational leadership employing a unique curriculum that integrates theory and practice, the NuLawLab engages economic, human, technological, cultural and social capital to reimagine and redesign integral components of lawyers’ professional preparation and activity.
NuLawLab Partnerships and Projects
- NuLawLab and Northeastern law students will join forces with artists and worker-led coalitions to produce a public art and advocacy initiative designed to educate Massachusetts domestic workers about their rights. Spearheaded by REV-, with partners including NuLawLab, the MIT Center for Civic Media, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and other advocates and allies nationwide, this project aims to provide workers and parents with tools to support the growing national movement for domestic worker justice.
- In 2011, the School of Law convened the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law, a network of over 150 educators from more than 90 law schools with a shared interest in initiating new approaches and programs for curriculum reform in order to change the way lawyers are educated. In October, 2012, the School of Law and the Northeastern University Law Journal hosted “Experience the Future: Inaugural National Symposium on Experiential Education in Law.” The symposium was informed by the contributions of the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law's working groups focused on addressing critical challenges in legal education and the profession. The NuLawLab provides ongoing administrative support to, and facilitates activities of, the Alliance.
- In 2012, the School of Law and the NuLawLab launched the Outcomes Assessment Project (OAP) — combining rigorous social science research with principles of change management to provide critical insights on how to better integrate experiential education into the law school curriculum. Equally important, the OAP will give the legal academy and profession a more realistic, evidence-based analysis of what works and what doesn’t, resulting in models for how to best allocate resources in the years ahead.
Design Thinking and Other Tools
The NuLawLab applies a variety of structured creative processes, including “design thinking” — a term coined by David Kelley, founder of California-based design firm IDEO and Stanford’s d.school — to describe a process that brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It allows those who are not trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges. In short, it aims to make institutions and programs more responsive to human needs and, therefore, more successful. The NuLawLab is employing these creative processes to explore issues as essential as curriculum reform and its assessment, professional development, organizational and economic structuring, community interaction and access, and communication among constituencies. The NuLawLab encourages individuals and institutions to participate flexibly, collaborate broadly, experiment thoughtfully, innovate boldly, think creatively and, ultimately, transform legal education and practice.