The 10 Legal Design Philosophies

Fail Fast

Fail Fast

Do not let the fear of failure kill the potential of new trajectories.


The “F” word. Failure. If you are a legal professional, failure is one of the most feared outcomes. The thought of embracing failure as a method of learning often leaves legal professionals feeling as though they would be embracing mediocrity or borderline complacency. This is not the case at all, and legal professionals need to start shaking themselves free from this perception of failure.

Embracing failure without loss of quality

Embracing failure does not mean underperforming. It does not mean reducing the quality of your services, and it certainly does not mean providing negligent legal advice. When we talk about embracing failure, it needs to be put into context. We see it as an important vehicle for developing better solutions without diluting the security of legal advice. And it is also clear that lawyers in particular have little room for error due to their liability. This is certainly an important reason why many lawyers have so far shied away from new possibilities.

However, if we are talking about client service transformation and defining a new standard of legal advice, products and services, then this does require us to experiment and try new things. Some of these trials and experiments may not produce the results you anticipated – that is, they will fail. Too often, however, we observe that legal professionals (and the organizations in which they work) let the fear of failure (and the misconception that it would lead to a loss in reputation or credibility) stop them from even assessing new possibilities or trajectories.

Instead, legal professionals should learn to embrace failure as an important milestone in the innovation and change process. Each time you try a new idea and it does not succeed, you need to use this as a learning activity. What worked and why? What didn’t work and why? Where could you improve for next time? It is important to fail quickly, learn quickly and keep moving forward with innovation. Legal design embraces the designer’s motto of “fail fast and often,” making a case for quick experimentation as a way to learn and identify new possibilities for the industry.

Please note:
If you are using our text or parts of it in any way, you must mention The Legal Design Book and us, the authors, Meera Klemola and Astrid Kohlmeier as your source of information.

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