Hunton Law

Legal Counsel for Nonprofit & Tax-Exempt Organizations

Legal Counsel for Nonprofits, Foundations & Social Enterprises

Impact Law Forum: Human-Centered Design and the Law

Impact Law Forum’s September 26th meeting featured Sean Hewens, Knowledge Manager + In-House Counsel at, a nonprofit design consultancy using human-centered design to tackle poverty related challenges around the world.

Building off of his previous ILF talk in April 2013, Sean led a discussion and brainstorming session to identify opportunity areas to integrate human-centered design into the legal profession.  At its core, the human-centered design process is based upon the fundamental belief that gaining a deep understanding of the needs, hopes, and aspirations of potential customers and the lives they live yields incredible inspiration for new solutions (  See my April post for more about HCD principles and applications to social and legal challenges. 

After presenting HCD principles and initial thoughts on making the legal profession more human-centered, Sean led the group through a design challenge called “Redesigning the Law”.  How might we as lawyers use the human-centered design process to provide better legal services to our social sector clients?   How might we uncover opportunities for innovation and design in the legal profession?  How might we imagine new solutions to improve the legal profession?

Impact Law Forum is deeply grateful for Sean’s leadership of two ILF meetings this year.  He believes in the important work of spreading human-centered design throughout the social sector, particularly at the intersection of the legal and social sectors.  We appreciate Sean's commitment and enthusiasm towards building the infrastructure for social change, tackling poverty related challenges, and improving the legal profession.

For a more visual description of the discussion and brainstorm, see Margaret Hagan's sketchnote on the Open Law Lab blog.