Recent Posts on a Better Legal Internet

Please find periodic updates and short announcements from our team at Stanford Legal Design Lab, as we work on improving how Internet platforms respond to people with legal help problems.

Have questions or want to work with us? Write to us at legaldesignlab [at] law.stanford.edu

Legal Help Searches in the Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) framework

Google Search has training guidelines for people who evaluate legal help websites and results. These are called Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. And one of the central principles they teach people rating websites is YMYL, or Your Money or Your Life. Concerns and sites that concern high-YMYL matters. YMYL is framed around financial stability, health, safety,…

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Government sites aren’t always .gov sites

Election government websites often aren’t .gov websites. Many of them have TLD (top-level domains) that are .coms, .orgs, or other domains. That means a search engine, social media platform, or other ‘broker’ of online information can’t automatically just send people to a government site. It’s hard to easily sort authoritative information from misinformation or low-quality…

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National legal help sites from the government

One of the problems with legal help online is the lack of national nonprofits that offer legal help. Legal aid in the US is very local, with county or state legal aid groups providing information and services to people. And most legal help websites have been created at the state level, to provide that state’s…

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Marking Videos with ‘Authoritative Sources’

Video platforms like YouTube are being used to share advice and get help with problems. But what about unreliable or low-quality information being shared about health, news, politics, and legal matters? At least for health, the YouTube team has created a new intervention to mark when a video is created by an authoritative, reliable source….

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Legal Help (and Harms) on Social Media

Our team is starting to do preliminary explorations of how we may audit social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube to see how legal help is (or could be) delivered on them. What is happening with evictions, debt, and other civil justice issues on Tiktok and elsewhere? Based on our research assistant Carolina Nazario’s…

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Data-Driven Legal Help

Digital Legal Needs analysis of an online legal clinic to predict seasonal trends in people’s legal needs by Nóra Al Haider and Margaret Hagan, originally published on Legal Design and Innovation What can we learn from people’s legal questions online? Especially, how can we use this data to serve people in better ways? Stanford Legal Design Lab…

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Standards, Standards, Standards to advance Justice Innovation

LIST problem codes are standard ways to describe legal issues. How can you use them to make legal help better? by Margaert Hagan, this piece was originally published on Legal Design and Innovation 1. We need standard codes for legal problems. There’s lots of different words we can use to describe the same legal problem….

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Ontologies for lawyers

by Margaret Hagan, orignally published on Legal Design & Innovation At recent lawyer-focused hackathons and design sprints, there is a definite trend in the projects being proposed: Make ‘it’ machine-readable! Build a standardized markup or markdown language! Convert natural language to computable language! Whether it is for legislation, legal help information, or for contracts (and…

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Legal Help on the Internet: an agenda for search platforms

Last month, I had the privilege of presenting my work and proposed agenda for a Better Legal Internet to technology leaders and computer science professors. Here are my slides from a five minute lightning talk on how the Internet is currently failing people seeking out civil legal help and what a better search experience could…

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Every legal help problem that exists

This short report catches up where the earlier post on a Human-Centered Taxonomy of Legal Help started. I have been reading thousands of Reddit and legal forum posts every week, to see what people are asking for legal help on. At the same time, I have been reading thousands of entries into lawyers’ lists of the help…

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Making an inventory of self-help websites

For our summer project around machine learning and legal help, we are in the process of looking at every state court self-help website and each states’ free legal help portal website. We are scraping these websites for legal guides and tools, and then we will be labelling them regarding what legal issues they could help…

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A Human Centered Taxonomy of Legal Problems

Sussing out our main Parents in the Taxonomy. Where to put the elusive but huge world of Benefits? I’ve kicked off this taxonomy creation/refinement by gathering three existing legal issue taxonomies, from very kind legal aid groups and — at the largest scale — the National Subject Matter Index. (The NSMI was the most deliberately funded and well-hosted legal issue…

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Better Legal Internet working group meeting

This past July, our Legal Design Lab held a 2-day workshop with about 20 participants, to rethink how legal help sites present their content online. It’s part of our going Better Legal Internet initiative. In particular, we looked at how help sites can use Schema.org metadata on their sites might allow search engines to better…

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The UX of the Internet as a Legal Help Service law review article

One of my academic articles has just been published in the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology. It’s called “The User Experience of the Internet as a Legal Help Service.” The article presents findings from my research into how people experience the Internet when they try to use it to solve legal problems. As more…

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What would better legal help searches look like?

— This post was originally published on Medium, in our publication Legal Design and Innovation– One of my favorite podcasts, Reply All, has an episode out about fake-official Internet sites, that dupe people in a desperate situation with seemingly-official sites that charge people for services that should be free. For example, there’s a Lost-and-Found site for…

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A Better Legal Internet working group: scoping meeting

The Internet is not a good place to find legal services. Even as more people search the Internet to figure out how to respond to a problem in their life, they can’t find clear answers or paths to get things done easily. With this project, we aim to begin addressing this problem by establishing (1)…

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MargaretRecent Posts on a Better Legal Internet