For The Record

Illustration by Mike Domina

Design thinking is “a problem-based approach to thinking about how to understand societal challenges and create solutions that are focused on real-world scenarios,” according to Roger Skalbeck, Richmond Law associate dean for library and technology. 

As part of Richmond Law’s first legal design sprint, students in the school’s Cambridge summer program used the concept to offer a solution to a prospective client in fields ranging from employment discrimination to religious freedom. Design thinking is “a human-centered approach to problem-solving,” Skalbeck said. “You’re trying to develop empathy.”

Grace Bowen, L’21, took on the topic of the death penalty, exploring ways to support family members of individuals convicted of capital crimes. Her team conceived of a state-by-state map that breaks down “everything you want to know about the death penalty in layman’s terms.

“It was most challenging to word something in a way that somebody who has no legal education could understand and to present it in a way that would be appealing to others and engaging as well,” Bowen said.