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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Innovation Insights

Co-design: The art of designing solutions together

Here at Clifford Chance, we are passionate about the value and importance of working together. It is our collaborative approach with clients, lawyers, and other teams that enables us to reshape our legal service delivery and create solutions that meet our clients' ever evolving needs. For us, it is not about designing solutions that we 'think' are the right ones. We build our solutions with our clients rather than for them.

Empathy and user-centricity

We always start with our user and their own unique and individual journey. Using empathetic design technique, we invest in getting to know our clients and the challenges they face. We learn how our clients work and why they do things in the way that they do. We do this to identify pain points that we can try to solve and so that any solution we build will fit in to the way that they are already working. 

We used these techniques in the design of our VIMA (Venture Capital Investment Model Agreements) document solutions. VIMA was first launched in 2018 by the Singapore Academy of Law and the Singapore Venture Capital Association to serve as the industry standard for early-stage venture capital transactions. The initiative was a great starting point for venture capitalists and early-stage start-ups who wanted help in navigating the realm of legal documents required for fundraising.

By adopting a co-design approach with the Create+65 start-up community, we were able to understand how those documents were being drafted and used. Listening to a wide range of feedback on their experiences helped inform us about how we might deliver a solution to make those documents even more accessible. The result? Automated document solutions designed with the end user in mind. 

Some of the specific features we included as a direct result of our co-design approach:

  • Options: Some users prefer to engage with solutions in a conversational manner and others as more of a checklist. So we developed both options - users can generate their first draft documents by using a conversational chat bot or by using a smart form questionnaire.
  • Progress bar: Transparency is important to users, especially when filling out a long form. A small but important feature to help users navigate the documentation.
  • Context and guidance: Many of the users we spoke to had not been legally trained and the thought of automating the first draft of a document was intimidating. We helped overcome that by providing additional guidance through the process in language that was simple and easy to understand.

How can co-design help our clients?

Our clients come to us for our legal expertise. But we need something from our clients as well. We need their time to tell us about their frustrations, expectations and aspirations. We are investing in the ways that we deliver our legal expertise and we want to hear from our clients how we can do that together. Collaboration and co-design are at the heart of how we are solving our clients frustrations, exceeding their expectations and helping them to achieve their aspirations.

Our approach is guided by those co-design principles that maximise participation – so why not contact our team and start that process with us today.

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