Francesco Mondora: “More understandable and transparent contracts and laws. To improve relations between citizens and institutions, businesses and customers

Good businesses that arise from unexpected answers. In summary this is the story of Design Rights, a partnership between the innovation agency Mondora and LCA, a Milanese law firm.

“I was signing a contract that would start a new company and I realized that I didn't understand anything of what I was reading,” says Francesco Mondora.

“It's annoying, I pointed out to my lawyer. Can't we make it more understandable, so that I know what I take responsibility for?”

The lawyer replies: legal design

Making legal and regulatory texts, contracts and procedures more understandable through the use of design. Forget the "legalese" out of pity for the common citizen, reorganize the document from a graphic point of view. And, above all, for transparency of agreements and rules.

Francesco Mondora continues to say: “The idea of ​​creating a legal design co-branding with a large law firm like LCA seemed authentic and light-hearted to me. We need two disciplinary approaches to do a good job on document architecture and contract language. We also need a legal vision capable of legally validating the simplification and transparency work of the project."

Businesses and customers need transparency

Legal design conceived as a service company has large corporations as its main target. Therefore the complexity of the contracts in this case, once elaborated and simplified through a design project, must have a legal value.

Some examples: Design Rights was responsible for redesigning the permanent employment contract of Accenture, which is interested in building an evolved and dynamic policy in the relationship with its employees .

It is a strategy, that of transparency and contractual trust, which aims to attract young talents and stabilize the working relationship, in a market which, on the contrary, is very mobile. The new contract therefore not only has a legal value, but is understandable, aesthetically pleasing and legible. Design, in the legal field, has the role of humanizing and simplifying the Italian spectrum par excellence: bureaucracy.

Legal design works

“We wanted to have tangible proof that a proactive legal approach, centered on the effectiveness of the professional relationship, has a truly positive impact on professional or commercial agreements between companies and people. We asked the interested parties directly and now we know with certainty that legal design is effective, it works. Not only is there a generic appreciation, but a greater understanding and clarity in the reciprocity of rights and duties", explains Francesco Mondora.

Another example: the Banca Sella personal loan contract. The area here becomes critical: relationships with credit institutions are often a terrain of acrimony suffused with a general feeling of mistrust. Alice Tosetto, head of the personal credit legal office, clarifies: “The objective is to achieve more streamlined, accessible and transparent communication, for promote understanding and simplify the experience. We want our customers to be able to read our contracts with the peace of mind of being able to understand every step without being a legal expert."

Legal design works and customers appreciate it

The result is a contract designed by Design Rights which tries, as far as possible, to make the terms, times and loan repayment methods clear with the use of functional graphic architecture, icons, timelines. Communication is clearer, the references for accessing information and contacts within the bank are immediately visible, information on how to withdraw from the contract, on the methods of early repayment and, above all, on what the bank expects to know from the customer and in what times, are intuitive. Here too, Design Rights organized a post-project survey: the new contract works and customers appreciate it.

Language: goodbye to legalese

“We are taking steps to obtain the plain language certification”, says Francesco Mondora. That is, the guarantee that Design Rights is able to translate "legalese" into Italian.

Because the other sore point of bureaucracy, and therefore of the relationship between law and people, are words. In Italy the law has a thousand-year tradition, which leads in its least useful expression to the Manzonian figure of the guesser.

The idea behind the concept of plain language is to overturn the bureaucratic paradigm in favor of the citizen. That is, making the complexity and apparent illegibility of the legal lemmas simple.

In Design Rights projects we therefore try in every way and where possible to use commonly used words and an elegant and intelligent syntax, above all because it is understandable. As happens precisely when designing a commonly used daily tool: an app, a corkscrew, a lamp.

It also works between institutions and citizens

The combination of graphics and words designed to be clear, the massive use of visual summaries and infographics, images and icons instead of sentences. It's difficult not to think that all this could also make relations between citizens and institutions more efficient and pleasant. “We are working on some projects with the Municipality of Milan.

Legal design helps the understanding of bureaucratic processes and implies the community's care towards the individual. It is clear that in order to be able to exercise one's right to understand the laws and regulations, the desire to be accountable for one's duties also significantly helps.

The effects of legal design methodologies in the institutional setting have already been analyzed in other European countries and in the United States: everything works better, particularly when you are in a multicultural situation: clarity makes everyone more inclined to respect the rules in a climate of reciprocity".