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January 17 2020

For our users....by our users

Flex News

Mary Bonsor

Mary Bonsor

For our users....by our users

Legal Design:

Having attended the Legal Geek Legal Design conference for the past 2 years, it got us thinking about our users. Had we really had asked our paralegals if they understood what they were signing up to when they joined F-LEX?

We had our T&Cs drafted by a law firm, but did our users (paralegals) actually understand them? What did our users think about our T&Cs and did they really read them? We had done no market research and just assumed this was the case!

Time to challenge this - we got in touch with Karen Watton of qLegal, Queen Mary University’s commercial law clinic to see if their students might be interested in running a legal hackathon with us to re design our T&Cs with the reward being that the final set would be used on our website.

We instructed Meera Klemola from Observ to come and give the students a 2 day lesson about legal design along with Steven Chambers, a UX designer working at F-LEX.

The hackathon was fantastic - so much energy and the first day was about allowing the students to be given the tools of legal design, looking at being user-centric personas and running surveys with potential users. I was there to answer any questions about the T&Cs and any observations about the challenge.

On the second day the students started to work on their designs and created their surveys and questionnaires to ask other students. This was where they began to sketch out their ideas. A few key questions came up for me to answer:

  • Why could students not see the T&Cs before they signed up on the application page?

  • What happened to their data if they were rejected?

  • Did we explain the application process clearly and what if you were an international student with visa restrictions?

  • Why did we not shout about our values and story more on the website?

  • Why did we not shout about our success story of helping over 300 people get training contracts?

This was all incredible feedback and quite astonishing that we had not really thought of a lot of these points. We had assumed knowledge and not gone back to basics and challenged our thinking with our actual users.

The teams each came up with 3 or 4 concepts which they designed and they then had 2 weeks to test these with other users and work on their presentations before coming to present their final pitch to the F-LEX team.


We were blown away by their presentations. Not only were there some really great designs, but the time and effort that went into creating these T&Cs were incredible. We had to judge between 4 teams called Fanta Vier / Wiged Ways / Team Journey and Te3m. I really can’t get over the effort they put into this; it was SO impressive and so inspiring, and the fact that they did this alongside their studies, was even more amazing.


Fanta Vier
Team Journey
Wiged Ways
Te3m Fanta Vier Team Journey Wiged Ways

All 4 ideas were very different: one was all to do with taking a journey, another you could click on different books which were around a judge, another was a law student’s career path and the final one used pictures to explain concepts, for example they had added a calculator so you could add the hours you worked, and it would calculate what you would earn - all were very original, different ideas.

In total, they asked over 250 students to review our T&Cs and give feedback. We found out that payment and “type of work” were the two most important parts of the T&Cs for our law students and they found some clauses very ambiguous.

They also pointed out that we should shout about our values more as they loved that these were to be more human, positive and responsive.

The winners were TE3M, although it was an incredibly close call. They will be put up on our website shortly when we redo it, but you can see their journey here:

Screenshot 2020-01-16 at 17.54.33.png Screenshot 2020-01-16 at 17.54.45.png Screenshot 2020-01-16 at 17.53.54.png Screenshot 2020-01-16 at 17.54.22.png

What this has taught us:

  • Always test your assumptions with your users as you will be amazed at the results

  • Law students are a great pool of resource for designing legal documents- the effort and hard work was astonishing and their creativity was incredible

  • Legal design is applicable with almost any document!

  • Doing a hackathon like this taught the students to be more collaborative and share their ideas. When they started, each group felt like their ideas might be copied but by the end, they were all helping each other with ideas. Collaboration is the way forward (#The Bionic Lawyer)