Helena Haapio

Contract Strategist & Associate Professor of Law, University of Vaasa

Helena Haapio is Professor of Practice and Docent of Proactive Law and Contract Design at the University of Lapland, Associate Professor of Business Law at the University of Vaasa, and Contract Strategist at Lexpert Ltd in Helsinki, Finland.

She is a lawyer on a mission: a practitioner by day and a researcher, author, and editor by night. She has devoted her life to improving contracts, especially for people who lack legal training: engineers, business and project managers, entrepreneurs who encounter contracts on a daily basis. Her mission is to fundamentally change the way contracts are designed, communicated, perceived, and taught. Together with information designers and colleagues she has explored new contract genres and designs. She has authored several book chapters and articles and recently co-edited two books for Edward Elgar, one on Legal Design and the other on Contract Design.

After completing legal studies at the University of Turku, Finland, and Cambridge University, England, she served for several years as an in-house Legal Counsel in Europe and the US, working with cross-border contracts. She started at the University of Vaasa as a Teacher of Strategic Business Law and defended her doctoral dissertation on Next Generation Contracts: A Paradigm Shift in 2013. She supervises doctoral students whose research interests focus on merging proactive legal thinking with design: helping people and businesses use contracts and law proactively to achieve better business and societal results, balance risk with reward, and stay out of unnecessary problems. Together with Stefania Passera she co-created the WorldCC Contract Design Pattern Library. Her work has been recognized with the European Women of Legal Tech 2020 Award. She is also a co-founder of the Nordic School of Proactive Law, the International Network for Proactive Law and of the Legal Design Alliance and a co-author of its Legal Design Manifesto.