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October 1, 2017


Symposium focuses on biases
‘Learn the latest in how bias affects the legal system’

A symposium offering participants a chance to focus on gender bias, implicit bias, and a multicultural inter-disciplinary approach to addressing bias and diversity issues will be offered November 10 at the Hilton Orlando at Lake Buena Vista.

The gathering is the first symposium offered by the Bar’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, according to Chair Brittany Maxey-Fisher and has been in the works for nearly three years.

Brittany Maxey-Fisher “We designed a full-day, multi-track program that satisfies hard-to-obtain CLE requirements for technology and ethics/bias elimination and allows lawyers to attend the presentations that are the most relevant to them, including practice-based sessions on the concerns of corporate clients, representing clients with mental health issues, and combating jurors’ implicit bias,” Maxey-Fisher said. “We have also brought in presenters who work in various arenas, including education, politics, alternative dispute resolution, and business, so attendees will be hearing new perspectives on the issues.”

She added, “The symposium offers the opportunity for Bar members to learn the latest in how bias affects the legal system and particularly how implicit bias that we may not be aware of can tilt the legal playing field. It offers not only an educational opportunity but advice from leading experts and practitioners that will improve your outlook and practice and advance the administration of justice.”

Maxey-Fisher said the program was developed after looking at what Bar sections, committees, and voluntary bar associations have done in the diversity and inclusion field.

“We’re hoping to have our committee be more of a hub, and the sections and committees and the voluntary bar associations can come and learn and then do deeper dives with their seminars,” she said.

There will be a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. for early arrivers on Thursday, November 9. The next day, registration is from 9 to 9:45 a.m. followed by an opening plenary session when Joseph K. West, chief diversity and inclusion officer for Duane Morris, will talk on implicit bias. That will be followed by the first of three breakout sessions. Maxey-Fisher said there are “tracks” where participants can follow one issue through each of the sessions, or they can sample sessions for each of the issues. The issues addressed are gender bias, implicit bias, and the “multicultural inter-disciplinary” approach to diversity matters.

The first breakout will have sessions on breaking the glass ceiling and improving gender equality, mental health issues affecting lawyers and clients, and a look at implicit bias and why it matters. The second breakout session will have sessions on expanding pathways for gender equality, an “Acts of Understanding Workshop,” and a look at how implicit bias impacts business and the law. The third breakout will have sessions on addressing gender bias in education, politics, and the legal profession, looking at diversity solutions, and looking at implicit bias in the courtroom and in alternative dispute resolution.

Panelists and presenters include law faculty, law firm partners and diversity officers, judges, and corporate counsel, as well as former Supreme Court Justice James E.C. Perry, Maxey-Fisher said.

Between the first and second breakouts, attendees will have lunch and Bar Board of Governors member John Stewart, chair of the board’s Technology Committee, will present a talk on “Technology and the Legal Profession: Challenges and Opportunities for the Future.”

The course carries 6.5 general CLE credits, 5.5 credits in bias elimination, and 1 hour in technology. The latter two count toward the bias elimination and technology CLE requirements in the three-year CLE reporting cycle.

The symposium costs $185 for Diversity and Inclusion Committee members, $195 for other lawyers, and $130 for law students and faculty. It is free for judges. You can register by going on the Bar’s website. Registration will also be available at the event. The hotel has a discounted rate for those attending the symposium.

More information can be found on the meetings/CLE events page on the Bar’s website, which is accessible through the member portal.

[Revised: 12-10-2018]