Diverse Interactions: Addressing Race and Implicit Bias in Legal Research Instruction (B1)

Date/Time: Sunday, July 15, 2018: 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Speakers: Tiffany Camp Johnson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Raquel Gabriel, CUNY School of Law Library; Shamika Dalton, University of Florida Levin College of Law Legal Information Center; Michelle Rigual, University of New Mexico Law Library; Clanitra Stewart Nejdl, Northern Illinois University College of Law

A growing body of research studies shows that implicit biases based on race and other minority status play a role in student perceptions, behaviors, and teacher evaluation outcomes. Across the country, persons of color are enduring unique legal challenges, including racial profiling, police brutality, racial gerrymandering, and the threat of deportation. In this context, the continued use in legal research instruction of race-neutral “Jack and Jill” client names and traditional, noncontroversial hypotheticals misses an important opportunity to address these topics.

Considering the obligations and responsibilities of legal research instructors to develop culturally competent lawyers, the first portion of the program will include a discussion of the importance of a legal research curriculum that addresses issues of race and implicit bias, despite possible unease when introducing sensitive topics in the classroom. In the second half, participants will learn tools and tips for incorporating issues of race and implicit bias into the legal research curriculum. Emphasis will be placed on the design of legal research hypotheticals and exercises that reflect legal challenges minority clients may face, while still providing the substantive instruction on legal research methods that students need.

This program is sponsored by the RIPS-SIS.

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