Innovation for Justice Curriculum


Innovation for Justice

Current Courses

In Fall 2021, the Innovation for Justice program is offering 3 graduate-level courses:

Innovation for Justice

UA LAW 672 | TTh 1:30-3:20 p.m.
UU STRAT 6910-01 | TTh 2:30-4:20 p.m.

Fall | 3 Credits

This project-based course empowers students to design, build and test disruptive solutions to the justice gap. In Fall 2021, we will partner with Pew Charitable Trusts, subject matter experts and community members to create a Medical Debt Policy Scorecard: a publicly-available, open-source dataset that analyzes the medical debt policies of the 50 states and spotlights the states that are leading the way in protecting consumers from the devastating consequences of medical debt.

Projects produced by this course include Hello Landlord and the RENT Project.

Innovating Legal Services

UA LAW 672A | MW 1:30-3:20 p.m.
UU STRAT 6910-02 | MW 2:30-4:20 p.m.

Fall | 3 Credits

In this project-based course, students will work with diverse stakeholders to address system-level failures in the civil legal system and apply disruptive problem-solving skills to create new legal empowerment strategies for underrepresented populations. Students will work with and within communities in both Arizona and Utah to focus on a particular social justice issue with the goal of launching new access to justice solutions that can scale.

Projects produced by this course include the Licensed Legal Advocate and the Medical Debt Legal Advocate pilots.


UA LAW 672C | TTh 8:50-10:20 a.m.
UU STRAT 6910-03 | TTh 9:50-11:20 a.m.

Fall + Spring | 3 Credits

Legal system technology is expanding across the U.S. with little attention to whether the people who need it are able to access and use it. Students in this course apply user experience (UX) research and design methods to reimagine how court technologies can improve access to justice. In Fall 2021, students will partner with the Utah State Courts’ Self-Help Center and Utah State Law Library to improve the experience for people navigating the civil legal system without the help of a lawyer.

Projects produced by this course include a usability evaluation of Utah’s online dispute resolution platform.

Future Courses

In Spring 2022, i4J will offer courses for both graduate and undergraduate students:

Leadership in Legal Innovation

Spring | 3 Credits

The Leadership in Legal Innovation course provides an opportunity for students who have completed an entry-level i4J course to advance their understanding of and skills in legal innovation. Leadership students play a role within i4J in one of two ways: (1) active participation as a leader / mentor in an ongoing entry-level i4J course, mentoring students who are new to the program and assisting in facilitation of class activities and community engagement; or (2) active participation as a project leader for an ongoing i4J project, participating in research and collaborating with the program director, peers and community stakeholders to advance the work of i4J.

Projects produced by this course include the Cost of Eviction Calculator, which was selected as a finalist in the Georgetown Law IronTech Lawyer Competition and became a leading advocacy tool for raising awareness about the downstream costs of eviction during COVID.

Visualizing Justice

Spring | 3 Credits

This gen-ed, entry-level undergraduate course introduces students to innovation and design thinking principles by exploring how art and design can convey legal rights and legal information. Through project-based work with community partners, students focus on a particular social justice issue to identify the legal rights at stake and develop strategies for effectively communicating those legal rights in order to empower people and make legal systems more accessible and navigable. This course is taught by associate art professor Kelly Leslie and i4J guest instructors with specialized knowledge of the social justice issue at stake.

Projects produced by this course include these eviction posters.

Empirical Methods and the Law

Spring | 3 Credits

Stakeholders in our civil justice system—judges, lawyers, and court administrators—often use procedures that have never been scrutinized for effectiveness. In other situations, civil justice actors adopt innovative changes without first demonstrating that they work. This course introduces students to the rigorous social science evaluation methods that can and should be used to improve access to justice. It familiarizes students with standard techniques for demonstrating whether new ideas carry measurable promise before deploying them in courts and legal practice. Students will apply the skills they learn to design and conduct a remote, experimental evaluation of access to justice innovations. No familiarity with statistics, econometrics, or related methodologies is required; the course will focus on quantitative intuition rather than mathematics. Students with advanced training are welcome to enroll if they are interested in applying these tools to socio-legal evaluation.