Fifth Circuit program lauded with professionalism award
THE FIFTH CIRCUIT’S “Eliminating Bias in the Courts” is the winner of this year’s Group Professionalism Award from The Florida Bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism. The award honors one program instituted and coordinated by a bar association, judicial organization, inn of court, or law school organization aimed at enhancing professionalism among lawyers and law students and that can be implemented by other organizations to promote and encourage professionalism within the legal community. The circuit’s “Eliminating Bias in the Courts” program was opened by then-Justice Barbara Pariente and focused on the value of diversity in the legal system. Approximately 250 attorneys and law students explored issues related to the widespread use of “disturbing and destructive” stereotypes in American culture. In addition to then-Justice Pariente, speakers included Dr. Kate Ratliff, assistant professor of psychology at University of Florida; Judge Peter F. Estrada of the 10th Circuit Court; Arnell Bryant-Willis, director of Diversity and Inclusion for The Florida Bar; National Women’s Hall of Fame member, Dr. Jean Kilbourne; and Dean Laura A. Rosenbury of the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Participants were taught the detrimental nature of bias in the court system; were exposed to an Implicit Bias Test in order to understand the neuroscience behind bias, as well as to identify personal biases; discussed the possible impact of racial bias in sentencing; looked at strategies to promote diversity and the various diversity initiatives; analyzed gender bias in media and advertising in order to identify strategies for positive change concerning gender bias; and specifically focused on gender bias in the practice of law.