In this session we will discuss how to create a government innovation lab using, as a case study, the Access to Justice Innovation Lab of the School of the Judiciary of the Dominican Republic. This is the first innovation lab in Latin America inside the judiciary, and it has three goals: 1) Advance the transformation of the legal profession; 2) Develop user-centered products and services; and 3) support the Judiciary’s Strategic Plan Visión Justicia 20/24. In the first year of the Lab, we have held legal design workshops with over 70 judges, created the first Access to Justice Hackathon using Stanford’s Hacking 4 Defense class as inspiration (11-week sprint where college students worked alongside judges to develop new products and services) and developed a 12-week mandatory legal innovation course for future judges. In the session, we will walk how we created the Lab, it’s success and lessons learned.
How to design government Innovation Labs: The Justice Innovation Lab of the Dominican Republic
Jose Torres, Daniela Vélez Medina, Laura Heshusius
Partner/ Lexia Abogados
Jose Torres is a Partner at Lexia Abogados in Colombia where he leads the legal design, fintech and crypto practice. In his legal design practice, he works at the intersection of design, law, and technology with the purpose of making the law simple and accessible. He advises governments and private companies on how to draft regulations and contracts that are user-centered and easy to understand using legal design.
He currently leads the Access to Justice Innovation Lab of the School of the Judiciary of the Dominican Republic (enjlab.org). For the Lab, Jose created the first legal design & tech program for judges, and is working with open innovation initiatives to create new products and services for the justice system with a user-centered mindset.
He is a former fellow of Stanford’s Legal Design Lab, and has been an attorney at Facebook, Skadden Arps and the WTO and among others. He regularly teaches at universities in Colombia and Central America on Legal Design, Legal Innovation, Design & Policy and Web3.
Daniela Vélez Medina
Designer/ Lexia Abogados
Daniela Vélez Medina is an Industrial Designer who believes that design should support all changes and that it can have a positive influence on people’s lives if it can permeate the private and public sectors.
She works as a legal designer in Lexia Abogados, a law firm in Colombia. She collaborates with interdisciplinary teams to solve problems and help them unlock their creative potential, exploring and identifying new opportunities and developing lead design-driven strategies and projects.
She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Javeriana’s University, Colombia in 2019 of Industrial Design.
Laura Heshusius is a lawyer from Universidad de los Andes, with experience in negotiation and design thinking. she currently works as an associate at Lexia in the area of legal innovation, where they work on different topics such as fintech, crypto, legal tech and Legal Design.
She has a strong interest in exploring ways to implement new technologies and innovative practices into the legal system. She seeks to apply her skills and knowledge to the simplification and democratization of law.