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Initiatives

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The Duke Center on Law & Technology coordinates many of Duke’s leadership activities in legal technology; our initiatives aim to understand, re-imagine, shape, and lead the next generation of tech-enabled legal practice and to employ the tools of the law to ensure that rapidly emerging technologies empower and ennoble people.



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Duke Law By Design is an initiative to bring human-centered design principles and practices into the law school.

A group of faculty and staff have completed training through IDEO U about design thinking, and are engaging student, staff, and faculty in human-centered design processes with stakeholders, other service professionals, and partner organizations from the community.

Topics have included eviction procedures in Durham, imagine measurements of project and attorney success beyond the billable hour, access to justice, improving forensic reports, and serving human trafficking survivors, and others.

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Design thinking for law is a process of experiencing knowledge and exploring the human mind’s ‘playground of ideas'.

Design thinking helps us to change the law for the better by…

  • Asking participants to take on a beginner’s mindset
  • Looking beyond the borders of the “law” as currently defined
  • Stripping away the fear of making mistakes
  • Teaching creativity and prototyping as core skill sets
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Duke Law By Design
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Meet the Facilitators

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Erika J.S. Buell Prof. Erika Buell

“Lawyers bring an analytical mindset to a task or scenario - including rapid assessments, analysis, and conclusions. Suspending this type of ‘lawyer’ thinking and embracing design thinking — watching (without judging) and empathizing with curiosity — is a profound shift in mindset that facilitates new insights.” 

Prof. Anne Gordon Prof. Anne Gordon

"I've had a variety of professional interests and jobs, so I'm used to the idea of trying, failing, and stumbling toward something that at the end will work for me. Design thinking is right in line with how I view life - as an opportunity to iterate towards your final goal."

Crystal Grant Prof. Crystal Grant

"I collaborate with professionals across a number of disciplines.  Design thinking provides a framework I can use in my interdisciplinary work and client representation.  I have expanded my problem solving skills and I can't wait to share my insights with students."

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Prof. Cas Laskowski Prof. Cas Laskowski

"As a gamer, I'm used to failing several times before getting it right. Design thinking encourages us to embrace failure to progress. Failure compels us to look at problems in new ways and think of creative solutions."

Kelli Raker Kelli Raker

"Empathy is one of the cornerstones of design thinking; it impacts how we respond to others when faced with a complex problem. I am a better person and professional when I connect with others around their experience." 

Prof. Jeff Ward Prof. Jeff Ward

"The law, like every powerful institution, needs engines of renewal and disruption, and design thinking fuels these engines, giving students full license to make tomorrow’s law better than today’s."





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Alumni Profile
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Rochael Soper Adranly of IDEO

Rochael Soper Adranly, L ’97/98 is Partner, General Counsel + Legal Design Lead for the international design firm IDEO. In her role as Legal Design Lead, Adranly walks the fine line between the rules-based world of law and the nonrules-based world of innovation, seeing to ensure that legal processes, tools, roles, and assets fit the needs of users as well as the human-centered culture of the firm. In 2015, she worked closely with her IDEO colleagues to create IDEO's Legal Design + Innovation practice to help law firms, in-house legal teams, law schools, public sector clients, and criminal justice reform advocates across the globe embrace human centered design against a rigid legal landscape.

Before joining IDEO, she worked in law firms in Houston, New York, and Silicon Valley and taught client counseling and negotiation at the UC Hastings and UC Berkeley Schools of Law. In 2017, Adranly co-developed and co-taught the Wintersession course, Designing Creative Legal Solutions, at Duke Law with Professor Jeff Ward. Adranly earned her JD and LLM from Duke Law School.

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Duke Law & Technology Society
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The Duke Law & Technology Society is a student-run organization which seeks to create a forum where like-minded students interested in the intersection of law and technology can share their ideas and satisfy their intellectual curiosity through peer (to-peer) instruction.

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Ethical Tech
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Ethical Tech was co-founded by DCLT Fellows. It is a nonpartisan initiative focusing on research, education, and policy development.