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Testing new formats for legal documents

Freehills

What do time-poor executives need when asking for legal advice?

That's simple, according to Stephanie Pursley, former partner and leader of the firm's ongoing Document Design Project. 'They want the answer and they want it in as few words as possible.'

InfoCLEAR worked with Freehills' Document Design Team, plain legal language expert, Michele Asprey and information designers Montague Leong Design to devise and test new formats for advices, deeds and bills. In the case of advice, Freehills is better able to meet the needs of its clients through the deployment of a new template which forces lawyers to 'put the answer upfront'.

Though a modern look and feel for documents was desirable, the project focus was on making key documents more relevant, readable and usable. This meant a strong vision and preparedness to review current practice.

As Stephanie Pursley pointed out to Lawyers Weekly, testing was more about usability than appearance. 'We didn't go and say to clients 'Do you like the look of this?' We said 'Find Clause 16.3 in this deed and we looked at how quickly they could find it, whether they used the index, where their eye went on the page.'

For Freehills, testing was an integral part of the design process, leading to further enhancements in the quality of the final product – and ultimately, a better user experience.

 

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Testing new formats for legal documents