Berkeley Business Law Journal, 2015/01/01, Vol: 12, p1
business corporate law, civil procedure, contracts law, environmental law, evidence, governments, healthcare law, legal ethics, and tax law
What's here Clients hire corporate lawyers to make useful products. These products are documents, such as contracts and corporate bylaws. Lawyers have good tools for making documents; standard forms and precedents from prior engagements are prime examples. But, corporate lawyers do not seem to use other tools whose employment might contribute to the utility and value of their products. These tools, employed by designers, include a focus on the reader and actual user experience, and an attention to typography, to facilitating communicative effectiveness through careful attention to the presentation of text. This paper reflects work by corporate lawyers trying to learn from designers, their work-product, and their literature, in creating legal documents for clients. The materials considered here are governance documents for nonprofit corporations. This paper notes several themes emerging from the literature study, explains why governance materials are a good vehicle for this work, characterizes typical executions of those materials, describes in detail and provides examples of the documents we developed, and makes a few observations about continuing work in the area. The work here is early-stage. As designers might say, we're doing ideation and prototyping. But, we do think the work is suggestive of how even modest awareness of design considerations can make our work-product better for our clients. The author is grateful to Jennifer Gonzalez for her research assistance and to Sean Hewens, James Lee, Kim Mitchell, Ryan Stouffer, George Triantis, and Steve Weise for their guidance and encouragement. Documents as communication projects ...