Helena Haapio

Contract Strategist at Lexpert Ltd, Associate Professor of Business Law at the University of Vaasa and Professor of Practice and Docent of Proactive Law and Contract Design at the University of Lapland


Humanizing Legal Communication with Proactive Law, Information Design and AI

The 2023 European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles emphasizes putting people at the center of digital transformation. User-centricity is also at the heart of Proactive Law: an approach that aims to ensure successful outcomes and prevent legal problems. How do we effectively translate this thinking into action, especially in the context of legal communication?

For decades, laws and contracts have been written by lawyers for other lawyers, resulting in dense texts full of legalese and needing more transparent structure and design. In recent years, voices have begun to call for a significant change, and simplification and visualization have gained momentum. Even regulators have started demanding clear language and easy-to-read summaries that people can understand and use.

Traditionally, simplifying complex messages has required a lot of manual work. Now, we can do it more easily. No more excuses for not doing it when we can! This keynote will showcase real-world projects transforming complex legal messages in various contexts, from contracts and terms of service to codes of conduct and privacy policies.

We will explore the Contract Design Pattern Library that the presenter helped create for WorldCC and see how AI tools can help writers apply design patterns, such as layering that work for all readers, not just lawyers. Join us as we explore the potential of proactive law, information design and AI to create a more accessible, human-centered legal future.


Helena Haapio is a pioneer of Proactive Law and contract design, a practitioner by day and an author and editor by night. Based in Helsinki, Finland, she works as a Contract Strategist at Lexpert Ltd. Helena is currently also an Associate Professor of Business Law at the University of Vaasa, and a Professor of Practice and a Docent of Proactive Law and Contract Design at the University of Lapland.
After completing legal studies at the University of Turku, Finland, and Cambridge University, England, Helena served for several years as in-house Legal Counsel in Europe and the United States. Her articles have appeared in several business and professional publications and her work on contract design and simplification has been recognized internationally.

Helena was nominated as one of the “European Women of Legal Tech” in the category Academia & Education in 2020, and has also been awarded a honorary Fellowship by WorldCC, World Commerce & Contracting (formerly IACCM, the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management). Together with Stefania Passera, she created the WorldCC Contract Design Pattern Library. Helena has been actively involved in the development of the Nordic School of Proactive Law and of the ProActive ThinkTank and acted as Expert to the European Economic and Social Committee in preparing its Opinion on The proactive law approach published in the Official Journal of the EU in 2009. Helena is also a co-founder of the Legal Design Alliance and a co-author of its Legal Design Manifesto.

Since her doctoral dissertation Next Generation Contracts: A Paradigm Shift (Lexpert 2013) Helena’s multi-disciplinary research focuses on ways to enhance the quality – especially functionality and usability – of contracts. Through a proactive approach, information design, visualization, and AI, she seeks to fundamentally change the way contracts are designed, communicated, perceived, and taught. Her recent research explores how AI-powered information design can help make contracts and law accessible to all, leading to better business and societal outcomes.