Meet Professor Josh Kubicki

Josh's headshot

Professor Josh Kubicki is one of the newest professors at Richmond Law, and he directs our new Legal Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program. He is participating in the Richmond Law & Business Forum’s event on Thursday, March 11 entitled Understanding Your Client’s Market (And Your Own). We invited him to talk about his new program and his career path on the business side of law.

What is the Legal Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program?

The mission of the program is to teach future lawyers to be legal business leaders. We teach students the disciplines of innovation and entrepreneurship through the practice of Business Design – a human-centered business creation and management methodology.

Can you describe the courses that are part of this program?

Courses focus on the underlying foundations of any successful business – strategy, operations, and execution. We strive for highly experiential classes – bringing the outside-in – mixing students with legal and business leaders. For instance, the Practice Design & Innovation class focuses on identifying emerging market opportunities for non-traditional practice groups (alterative service models). We call this the Legal Business Design Challenge. Students in this class worked directly with an outside organization we call the Innovator-in-Residence (“IIR”). It can be a firm, an in-house team, or other legal services organization. This year’s IIR is the firm Baker Donelson. Students worked directly with over a dozen legal and business practitioners at the firm over 6-weeks to generate validated ideas that were then pitched directly to the firm’s CEO/Managing Partner, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Client Solutions Group Officer. This semester (Spring ’21) we are offering three classes: A Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification class; a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification class; and the Managing and Leading the Business of Law class.

What other events or programming will the program include?

Soon we will be offering programming such as a guest speaker or discussion series. We are in the initial planning stages for further content and programming ideas and welcome input from the UR Law School and Alumni communities.

How did you get interested in legal business design?

My career in the law began on the “business-side” of legal service, working as part of an in-house team. The nature of my role required inventing and managing new ways for in-house lawyers to interact and collaborate with their internal business clients as well as outside counsel. This demanded a keen sense of process/workflow, technology, human insights, and “systems” approach to designing new ways of working and executing on both critical and mundane tasks. At first I had no idea what to call what I did. Later as my career advanced, I discovered that the discipline of business design best matched my capabilities, experience, and interest. Over the last ten years I have worked to refine this discipline in legal by creating new types of practice groups for firms large and small, reengineer in-house counsel services to better address their internal client needs and remove cost, and directly train 100s of lawyers and business professionals in legal to understand how to innovate, manage change, and perform better.

What advice do you have for students interested in thinking about new ways that lawyers can deliver legal services?

Learn the core fundamental of business and its functions. Every legal service (firm, in-house, legal aid, etc.) is delivered through a business model. Without knowing what a business model is, how to create and manage one, and ultimately how to change one – lawyers will get stuck in the “status quo” which always leads to missed opportunities to serve clients better and develop a thriving (not just surviving) business or practice.

Why did you decide to join the Richmond Law faculty?

I like to think that this role found me as I was not searching for a faculty role. When I became aware of it and began meeting the faculty and staff of the law school, I was truly surprised at the authenticity, energy, and openness of this community. I have always been a bit of an outlier in the legal market – driving forward and working tirelessly to advance our profession to truly meet the needs of our clients, customers, and citizens. I have been early with ideas and efforts frequently in my career and this carries risk and certain challenges. Richmond Law is a place where I feel not just accepted but encouraged to continue pursuing my discipline and inviting others to join in.

What has been your favorite part of Richmond Law so far?

Because of COVID-19, my experience thus far has been greatly limited and I have not had many opportunities to directly engage with students or faculty beyond my classes and various projects. That said, each interaction I have simply fills me with energy, joy and passion. A faculty peer asked me to take a walk recently just to catch up and get to know each other better. That conversation while nothing extraordinary did so much for me in terms of reenforcing my decision to join the school and why I am truly fortunate for the opportunity. I am welcomed here and that feels terrific.


Welcome to Richmond Law, Professor Kubicki!