Innovation in Practice (Leonard)
T 10:30AM - 12:19PM
Tanenbaum Hall 142
The American legal system was designed by lawyers for lawyers to use based on the assumption that everyone has a lawyer. The reality is that most individuals and small businesses are forced to represent themselves, navigating complex systems, forms full of obscure language, regulatory structures that prevent innovative solutions from taking shape, and intimidating and unwelcoming environments. Lawyers cannot transform the system on their own. True innovation requires inspiration from other disciplines.
This course will explore: 1) the root causes of the civil justice crisis, 2) specific aspects of legal culture and training that stifle innovation, 3) how environments that promote psychological safety, trust, and judicious risk taking lead to learning, growth, and breakthrough ideas, 4) principles of human-centered design that put the person being served at the center of designing new solutions that unlock improved outcomes, 5) mindsets and skills that stimulate curiosity, creativity, and ideation, and 6) how the rigorous examination of qualitative and quantitative feedback and non-linear approaches to understanding the problem can strengthen ideas over time.
This course will relate to a new Lab the Law School’s Future of the Profession Initiative (“FPI”) launched in Fall 2022. This Future of the Profession Lab will surface projects from practitioners, judges, and researchers that reflect deficiencies in legal systems. Students will use one or more of these projects as the basis for practicing the skills described above.
This course will include frequent visits from experts on the legal profession and faculty from Penn’s other schools and centers, including the Weitzman School of Design, the Wharton School, and Penn Nursing. Members of FPI’s leadership team, including its Senior Consultant Jim Sandman L’76 and Strategic Advisor, the Honorable Bridget McCormack, will also engage with students throughout the semester.
This is an experiential course that will involve conducting empathy interviews with individuals and/or small business owners about their experiences navigating legal systems. The course is also collaborative and will include a group project that will be the primary basis for final student grades. This is a highly interactive class and students are expected to participate regularly. Reading in this course is front-loaded—students will read more at the beginning of the semester to lay a foundation before moving into more active learning sessions. Students must attend every session. Students who must be absent due to emergency circumstances are required to provide advanced notice to the instructor.
Skills Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of the individual course skill; Demonstrate the ability to receive and implement feedback; Demonstrate an understanding of how and when the individual course skill is employed in practice.
Courts and the Judicial System Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of both substantive and procedural issues in the operation of our legal system; Perform legal analysis in the context of procedural issues and the judicial process; Communicate effectively on topics related to procedure and the judicial process; Demonstrate an understanding of how procedural issues and the judicial process affect all other area of our legal system.
Perspectives on the Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects, and is affected by, the individual course topic; Perform legal analysis in the context of the individual course topic; Communicate effectively on the legal and other aspects of the individual course topic; Demonstrate the ability to use other disciplines to analyze legal issues relevant to the individual course topic, including economics, philosophy, and sociology, as appropriate.
Public Interest Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of public interest law; Perform legal analysis in the context of public interest law; Communicate effectively on topics related to public interest law; Demonstrate an understanding of how public interest law is connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.
Equity and Inclusion Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Perform legal analysis in the context of topics related to equity and inclusion; Communicate effectively on the legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Demonstrate an understanding of how equity and inclusion are connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.