Civility Skills: The Art of Addressing Bias (Seattle, WA)

August 07, 2015 | 6.75 CLE ethics credits

Join us for a day- long CLE seminar on addressing bias in the legal profession co-sponsored by the non-profit Robert's Fund and Seattle University School of Law.

Contact Civility

Seattle University School of Law
901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall 209P
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA 98122-1090
(206) 398-4140

Learn more about the Civility Team


In this day-long interactive seminar, participants will examine the art and value of addressing bias. Lawyers and judges promote justice when they address biases and assumptions effectively. Two integral components of civility are being aware of our own biases and assumptions and being able to respond to those of others. Our past experiences and cultural backgrounds influence how we operate in the world. Everyone has biases and assumptions; we need them to survive. But problems arise when we act without taking time to examine these assumptions and how they impact the way we operate in the world. Likewise, the assumptions and biases of others can have a significant impact on the choices available to us in a given situation. Developing skills to navigate these situations effectively can promote a more civil and just legal system.


8:30-9:15        Why Robert's Fund seeks to reduce incivility in the law
This section will feature a brief introduction to Robert's Fund and it's mission, providing strong statistical evidence of personal, professional, and societal costs of incivility in the legal profession.

9:15-10:00      What do those we serve expect us to do about bias in our legal system and why we should listen to them.
This section will invite participants to consider how bias in the legal system impacts public perceptions of justice, why this is important, and what lawyers can do to improve perceptions and performance of the justice system as a whole.

10:00-10:15    Break

10:15-11:15    Implicit bias and the law
This section will help participants understand what implicit bias is and its impact on our decision making process.  We will specifically look at implicit bias in the context of legal systems and lawyering and develop concrete tools to help combat its negative effects.

11:15-12:00     Do you see what I see:  Implicit bias and priming in the courts
This section will help participants explore the impact of implicit bias and priming in a case currently pending in the federal court of appeals.

12:00-12:45     Lunch

12:45-2:15      The masks we wear:  An inquiry into how we practice law is impacted by who we are, what we show, and what we see in others
This section will feature one attorney's story of how he moved from feeling isolated and apart from the legal profession to a place of inclusion and connection with a greater legal community.  Participants will be challenged to understand what aspects of their own identity they show, consider how that may create a lens through which they see others, and specifically how this dynamic impacts their ability under RPC 2.1 to serve as an effective advisor to their client.

2:15-2:30        Break

2:30-3:15        What can I do about diversity in the legal profession?
This section will help participants explore the benefits of a more diverse practice of law and what concrete steps they might take to promote a more diverse practice both within their own firms and offices and in the profession as a whole.

3:15-4:00        Stories from the field:  Examples of bias being dealt with in a constructive way and what these stories tell us about strategies we should adopt as a profession.
Participants will be invited to hear real life stories of the issue of bias being dealt with in a civil and constructive manner and will be asked to look for commonalities across multiple stories to consider as high leverage strategies for improving the practice.

4:00-4:30        How creating a more civil legal system reduces unfounded bias - the pillars of civility applied to the issue of bias
Participants will be invited to consider how consciousness, creativity, and community can reduce unfounded bias.  As part of this session, participants will be provided an opportunity to commit to concrete, specific actions in each of these domains to improve their practice.

4:30-4:45        Conclusion & Evaluation



Tim Jaasko-Fisher, J.D., Director of Programming and Curriculum, Robert's Fund

Paula Lustbader, J.D.,
Professor of Law; Seattle University School of Law and President, Robert's Fund

Craig Sims J.D.,
Chief, Criminal Division, Seattle City Attorney's Office


Earlybird Registration Fees*:

General Registration $195
Employed by a Non-Profit or Govt. Entity $175
Seattle University Law School Alumni $165
Scholarship Recipient: $50
SU Law Students, Staff, and Faculty: Free

*Earlybird fees are available through July 31, 2015, thereafter add $40 to the registration fee.

Click here for Need-Based Scholarships Application

Email or call 206-398-4140 with questions