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News: Nate Alder champions design innovation to help basic consumers get through the legal system

LawX is a novel program at BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School set to launch this fall with a mission to level the playing field when it comes to accessing the legal process. "There's a crisis in law right now and it's that legal services are very expensive," said LawX program director Kimball Parker. "(Utah) Supreme Court Justice Constandinos Himonas has pointed out that a massive number of defendants who get sued in our state don't respond."

Taking on this problem, and the approach that will be embraced to identify a solution, is at the heart of what will make LawX so unique. It will be among just a handful of programs across the country that are carving out new territory at the intersection of law and technology. The dean of BYU's law school, D. Gordon Smith, said old approaches in training for the legal profession are due for an overhaul.  "One of the things we've thought a lot about is how to prepare our students for changes in legal practice because of technology," Smith said.

Alder noted that LawX's format of combining a high-tech approach with a goal centered on building fairness in the law was both timely and noble.  "Our field is really long overdue for accepting and adopting technology and innovation," Alder said. "And it's a tribute to Dean Smith for being a visionary, being very public-minded and being very concerned about our legal institutions and the administration of justice.  Helping consumers, everyday people, who are just trying to get through our legal system is incredibly admirable."

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