Q&A with legal design maestro: Stefania Passera

Stefania Passera is a master of legal design and the  talent behind Juro's open source privacy policy. A policy that has become a model for many in the industry illustrating the benefits of combining design thinking with legal content. 

The policy has its own fandom. It became so popular with copycats emulating the policy that Juro and the creators decided to make it open source to allow people to legitimately snag the clever design ideas in it, while still crediting them of course.

Stefania spoke to Crafty Counsel about the design process behind the policy, what she means by “design thinking” and why she would recommend legal professionals adopt this design mindset or approach.

Crafty Question:

If you could define legal design from your perspective to a lawyer who perhaps knows legal design exists, but doesn't know too much about it, how would you define it?

Stefania Passera:

I have two definitions:

  1. For the full definition: I would suggest you to go and read the legal design Manifesto. in that Manifesto we are claiming that legal design is human centred design applied to the world and the phenomena of law.
  2. Then there is the shortest definition for a busy lawyer that just wants to understand legal design, and not necessarily perhaps practice it. For starters, it's an innovative mindset to solve problems by putting the users at the centre. You don't have to be a designer to practice this. It's a lens that you can use to find new sources of insights to solve problems more effectively, and with more satisfaction for those involved.

Crafty Question:

And why is this mindset important for lawyers to embrace? Or do you think that it's becoming more important for lawyers to embrace this design mindset?

Stefania Passera:

A human-centred design mindset is crucial.

I believe that we are increasingly moving towards a relational world in business. We are having more integrated services, more personalised services, so the attention to the human needs behind the paying customer. I think that it's important and can be a factor for differentiation. The winners will be those who manage to go beyond business-to-consumer or business-to-business and manage to be simply "human-to-human".

Law has a bad name about being exclusionary, specialistic, and difficult. And even those who use legal services don’t really understand what this is all about. So let's say that this is about changing the paradigm of law and making it easier, more approachable to clients and citizens who may view legal services as necessary evil.

Crafty Question:

On the Juro privacy policy, what did the process entail?

Stefania Passera:

It was a design sprint of 12 days, distributed over a month, so quite a long design sprint. And the process was quite iterative.

When we worked on the language and information architecture of the policy we bounced it back between me, Juro’s CEO, their Head of Content, and their external counsel a number of times... 21, to be exact!

There was quite a bit of iteration in really getting the order, the structure, the words right. We removed everything we could take away to make it as simple as possible.

And after that we started thinking about how to present it visually online.

So we created different sketches, very rough sketches, to be able to evaluate options and concepts together. During a design sprint you don't have time to develop multiple ideas at pixel perfect quality, so identifying the right direction quickly and with minimal effort is crucial.

Then we built and tested two prototypes. We did a quick round of testing because in 12 days, you cannot do extensive user research. But any insight from real users is better than none!

After we launched it suddenly it became viral: thousands of people, not only users, but also privacy geeks, curious people around the world started looking at this privacy policy. And now three years on, it's an example you find quite often in privacy training around the world.

Sometimes I get messages from my counter like “hey, I just saw your work in this training in Brazil”, or others from Azerbaijan, Russia, Australia and so no... and it's almost like “wow, I designed a privacy policy with a fandom of it's own, which is a funny thing, if you think about it.”


Stefania is an information designer based in Finland and says she “ended up being a contract designer just by accident”. She runs her own consultancy.

You can see the video interview with Stefania Passera here.

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