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January 14, 2019

Harvard Law School’s The Practice Highlights Faegre Drinker’s Innovative Design Lab

In the article “Designs on the Law: The arrival of design thinking in the legal profession,” Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession’s publication The Practice highlights how design thinking has entered the legal profession.

The publication talked to intellectual property attorneys David Gross and Helen Chacon about how they got started in design thinking and developed Faegre Drinker’s Design Lab.

Recalling their first “design sprint,” Chacon shared that “we really thought about the stakeholders, what other people in the firm were thinking, and about approaching these things from a different angle… We thought this whole design thinking process is important and can become a really important part of our practice.”

Following the “design sprint,” Gross explained how they went all in on the idea and developed their design thinking skills for the next year. “I probably spent 500 hours, and Helen easily spent a similar amount of time, on nonbillable training, practicing, leading sprints and educating ourselves,” said Gross.

The article also expands on how Gross and Chacon got buy-in from firm leadership, the design team’s successes, and how it translates into their day jobs.

“Using design thinking has had a huge impact in client relationships, I now have in-house counsel asking, ‘Would you be willing to do a design sprint for our legal department?’” Gross noted. “It’s a competitive, durable advantage because this just isn’t what most law firms do.”

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