Northeastern University School of Law’s NuLawLab is an innovation laboratory that employs structured creative processes such as “design thinking” to identify, implement and assess solutions to some of the most significant challenges facing legal education and the profession. The lab works with internal and external clients seeking assistance on matters requiring specific attention, while also drawing together interested parties with expertise across disciplines to engage on issues of broad concern.
Inspired by the School of Law’s historical educational leadership employing a unique curriculum that integrates theory and practice, the NuLawLab engages economic, human, technological, cultural and social capital to reimagine and redesign integral components of lawyers’ professional preparation and activity.
NuLawLab Partnerships and Projects
- In 2011, the School of Law convened the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law, a network of over 150 educators from more than 90 law schools with a shared interest in initiating new approaches and programs for curriculum reform in order to change the way lawyers are educated. In October, 2012, the School of Law and the Northeastern University Law Journal hosted “Experience the Future: Inaugural National Symposium on Experiential Education in Law.” The symposium was informed by the contributions of the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law's working groups focused on addressing critical challenges in legal education and the profession. The NuLawLab provides ongoing administrative support to, and facilitates activities of, the Alliance.
- In 2012, the School of Law and the NuLawLab launched the Outcomes Assessment Project (OAP) — combining rigorous social science research with principles of change management to provide critical insights on how to better integrate experiential education into the law school curriculum. Equally important, the OAP will give the legal academy and profession a more realistic, evidence-based analysis of what works and what doesn’t, resulting in models for how to best allocate resources in the years ahead.
Design Thinking and Other Tools
The NuLawLab applies a variety of structured creative processes, including “design thinking” — a term coined by David Kelley, founder of California-based design firm IDEO and Stanford’s d.school — to describe a process that brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It allows those who are not trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges. In short, it aims to make institutions and programs more responsive to human needs and, therefore, more successful. The NuLawLab is employing these creative processes to explore issues as essential as curriculum reform and its assessment, professional development, organizational and economic structuring, community interaction and access, and communication among constituencies. The NuLawLab encourages individuals and institutions to participate flexibly, collaborate broadly, experiment thoughtfully, innovate boldly, think creatively and, ultimately, transform legal education and practice.
Form and Function
Physically housed in Dockser Hall at the School of Law, the NuLawLab serves as a hub where individuals and groups can convene in a multidisciplinary environment to develop concepts and to experiment in a structured setting designed for creativity. In this way, the NuLawLab serves as the premier location for innovation solutions at a time of disruption and uncertainty in the legal academy and profession. Over time, www.nulawlab.org will exist as a virtual location where open source dialogues will address challenges of common interest through collaborative problem solving.
Accomplishing this transformative vision requires a strong commitment from a talented team of creative thinkers and doers with a broad spectrum of talents. Led by a faculty director and creative director drawn from the School of Law faculty, the NuLawLab’s administrative team includes an executive director, content curator, design director, and project coordinator. In the near future, the lab team will expand to include innovation fellows who will drive inspirational, interdisciplinary thinking.
For more information, please contact:
Dan Jackson, Executive Director
Jules Sievert, Content Curator