Justice Entrepreneurship is an innovative elective course for LLM students that will help you design and build your own justice or legal solution. By applying design thinking methodology to the justice sector, you will dive into the real problems and needs of citizens, companies and other actors in society that require a legal solution. And by doing so you will develop your entrepreneurial skills. In particular, you will be going through the design phases of empathizing with those who face justice or legal problems, (re)defining the problem statement, and ideating brainstormed solutions, you will be prototyping a brand-new legal- or justice service.
You will be ready to launch your own organisation after this course. In partnership with our Start-up Fund, you’ll get the opportunity to present your start-up to an external jury to access follow-up investment. Curious what kind of start-ups were launched by our first cohort of Justice Entrepreneurs? Check out this summary of the best three teams that pitched during our legal start-up event at the end of the course in June 2021.
“It's a brand new field for me that focuses on the development of law in practice. Most importantly, I'm learning how to consider legal power from the perspective of human-centered design, like empathy and idea collection. Also, the intensive team work gives me opportunities to learn and practice communication, organization and coordination skills.” - Justice Entrepreneurship student Academic Year 2020-2021.
This course follows the Human Centred Design (HCD, or: Design Thinking) approach in developing a legal solution. The aim of HCD is using a design-based approach in thinking of innovations that are orientated on users and their needs. It is an inspiring way to challenge a team in creatively solving problems. Design Thinking places people in co-creation at the centre of the challenges, it is so called human-centred. This results in connecting different kinds of knowledge from research and (applied) theory to policy and practical knowledge.
Design Thinking has been increasingly applied to the legal sector, now called: Legal Design. Although a school of legal designers is focusing mostly on the visualisation of complex legal problems and solutions, the methodology can be applied more broadly to design new programmes and solutions to legal challenges faced by individuals, non-profits, governments or businesses. Students will get to understand the basics of legal design throughout this course, a methodology which they can apply in their future careers, whether working as an entrepreneur or an employee.
“I learned a lot about Legal Design and the design thinking method. It gave me a very good understanding of the way how an idea could become a reality by empathizing, ideating, validating and prototyping. Overall a great course and I will give it a 9 out of 10, since there should always be some room for improvement. But hats off for coming up with this course, and I would recommend it to anyone, regardless whether they have an affinity with entrepreneurship or not.” - Justice Entrepreneurship student Academic Year 2020-2021.
This course is taught over 8 weeks in block 2 (Nov-Dec) and block 5 (Apr-May). Students work in teams of two on their own solutions but have individual responsibilities and assessments. This is an intensive course that requires weekly readings and bi-weekly meetings. At the start of every week, a guest lecturer in the field of legal innovation, design or entrepreneurship will highlight examples and publications relevant in this professional field. In the second half of the week we will work together in seminars to research, design and develop a new solution. Throughout the course, each team is also coached weekly by a business mentor.
“It was the nicest course I had during my studies. It is a time-consuming course, but you get so much out of it if you put a lot of work into it. The tools and guidance you get are very good. Of course, a lot is expected of you, but that’s necessary in the entrepreneurial field.” - Justice Entrepreneurship student Academic Year 2020-2021.
All students enrolled in Master’s programmes at the Amsterdam Law School are in principle eligible for participation in the Justice Entrepreneurship course and receive 6 ECTs after successful completion of the course. Students are, however, themselves responsible to check whether the credits obtained will count towards their particular degree. Students enrolled at other faculties are very welcome as long as they have received approval from their programme coordinator.
This course is capped at 20 students to enhance qualitative learning. Selections are made based on motivation. Students need to sign up for the course by sending in their CV and motivation letter to email@example.com. It is not required (or even preferred) for students to have a start-up idea before entering the course.
Questions about the course? Please contact Nathalie Dijkman (Coördinator Justice Entrepreneurship) via: firstname.lastname@example.org.