Title: Teaching Our Students How to Overcome Implicit Bias and Foster Client Care to Empower Vulnerable Clients and Build Effective Attorney Client Relationships

Lead Presenter: JoNel Newman


  1. Melissa Swain

Session Abstract: It is imperative that we train the next generation of justice lawyers to be sensitive to implicit bias and to check or manage their biases. This interactive session will seek to identify the ways that race, gender, class, disability, socio-economic and other cultural differences can impact advocate’s work with clients, and can adversely influence legal outcomes. In addition, it will explore how lawyers should approach the intractable problem of acting in the best interests of a vulnerable client while also respecting their autonomy. We will work with participants to develop practices to mitigate disparate treatment and outcomes that may be the result of implicit bias and/or a client's particular vulnerabilities. Key topics covered will include: identifying and understanding implicit bias and why it is important in the legal context; the importance of allocation of authority in decision making, client autonomy and avoiding paternalism when working with vulnerable clients; and building effective and empowering attorney-client relationships when working with vulnerable clients.

Session Material:

  1. Unconscious Bias How to foster client care empower the vulnerable build effective client relationships1

See full list of abstracts here.