I have written a number of times here about the innovative LawX lab at BYU Law, in which students use design thinking to tackle issues in access to justice. The lab has already produced two notable applications: SoloSuit, an award-winning online tool to help self-represented people who have been sued for debt, and Hello Landlord, an online tenant-landlord communication tool designed to reduce evictions.
Now, the LawX lab is taking on the project of using design thinking to simplify the asylum process. But this time, the lab is joining forces on the project with the technology law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati and SixFifty, the technology subsidiary it launched earlier this year.
“We established LawX to teach students design thinking in tackling pressing access-to-justice issues, and we are honored to work on this project with Wilson Sonsini and SixFifty,” said Gordon Smith, dean of BYU Law. “Asylum fits nicely with the work BYU Law is already doing on immigration.”
BYU Law students enrolled in the LawX winter 2020 semester will use a design-thinking approach to build on the lessons learned from the two previous LawX projects. SixFifty will provide technical support for the project.
As in the past, the lab will be taught by Kimball D. Parker, who is the director of LawX and also the president of SixFifty. This year, he will be joined in teaching the lab by Marie Kulbeth, COO and general counsel at SixFifty, who is now also co-director of the lab. Kulbeth formerly worked at BYU Law as assistant dean of communications and marketing and is a graduate of the school.
The law school has already been regularly involved in asylum issues. Several times a year, faculty and students volunteer at the South Texas Family Detention Center in Dilley, Texas – the largest detention center in the country – to assist with credible-fear interviews for women seeking asylum. Kulbeth is among those who have volunteered there.
In addition, working in partnership with Deseret Industries, BYU Law offers direct representation on immigration law and other matters to individuals in the Utah Valley through its Community Legal Clinic.
“With such a daunting project as asylum, we are thrilled to collaborate with Wilson Sonsini, one of the best law firms in the world, to design this year’s solution,” said Parker. “We are confident that together we can do something very meaningful for a class of very vulnerable people.”