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Why You Should Attend
Lawyers play a critical role in our society. They represent individuals, organizations, businesses, and corporations, helping them to resolve legal problems and issues in civil and criminal cases. They act on behalf of tribes, local and state governments, the federal government, and the public interest in promoting truth and justice and protecting the rule of law. They serve as leaders in our communities, small and big, working to create social and legal reform, writing case law and statutes, shaping policy, and overseeing the operation of our governing bodies and tribes.
In performing all these tasks, lawyers have a responsibility to consider the experiences of the full diversity of individuals who reside in the United States, who serve as their clients, and whose lives will be shaped by the laws and policies they create and enact as well as the governments they run. In making these considerations in their legal work, lawyers must take an antiracist approach. They must do so if they want to ensure a racially just world. As Dr. Ibram Kendi has asserted, there is no being “not racist” in the struggle for racial justice. One is either racist or antiracist. A racist is an individual “who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea,” while an antiracist is a person “who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.” A racist “believes problems are rooted in groups of people” while an antiracist “locates the roots of problems in power and policies.” And, a racist “allows racial inequities to persevere,” but an antiracist “confronts racial inequities.”
As Dr. Kendi explains, each one of us “can be racist one minute and . . . antiracist the next. What we say about race, what we do about race, in each moment, determines what—not who—we are.” As this seminar will teach you, it is critical for all lawyers to work repeatedly and continuously to choose antiracist action and thought in all possible instances of their legal work.
Legal education, the legal academy, and the legal profession must acknowledge the existence of U.S. racism in its many forms. New entrants to the legal profession as well as its existing members must become critical thinkers about race and racism and how the latter evolves, mutates, and transforms if antiracist lawyering is to be understood and undertaken. The critical study of race and racism does not command adherence to an ideology; instead, critical study requires members of the profession to engage in meaningful dialogue about how they are in the world and how they are with the world. The objective is to become more aware and more reflective of the social realities impacting others.
Antiracist lawyering does not require suspending the use of existing skill sets such as comprehensive research and critical thinking to address the effects of social structures. In fact, antiracist praxis leverages these skills as complementary to knowledge acquisition that is necessary to perform antiracist lawyering. Examples of antiracist lawyering can include litigation, judicial decision making, legislative drafting and rulemaking, and advocacy. These spaces are ripe for formulating antiracist legal strategies, arguments, and policies.
This seminar will expose you to tools you will need to build an antiracist-centered practice throughout your organization, from the people you hire to the culture you maintain and inspire to the clients you recruit, develop, and manage. Building on the antiracist lawyering seminar offered in 2021, this program provides guidance on how all attorneys can develop an antiracist practice from beginning to end. In doing so, it focuses on building one’s team, specifically, the hiring and retention of a diverse and committed group of attorneys; fostering an antiracist culture and climate at work, including through one’s engagement with clients; and promoting an overall antiracist agenda.
What You Will Learn
- Definitions of terms that are critical to understanding and developing an antiracist legal practice.
- Strategies, tactics, and practices for hiring and retaining a group of employees who are committed to antiracist work and social change.
- Suggestions and approaches for fostering an antiracist workplace culture and climate.
- Strategies and tools for managing client relationships and expectations in a manner that promotes antiracism.
- Strategies and tools to develop antiracist advocacy.
Who Should Attend
This program is intended for all attorneys and professionals with existing commitments to and a desire to commit to antiracist work and change.
Program Level: Overview
Intended Audience: Attorneys and allied professionals interested in creating an antiracist legal profession and society and committed to self-awareness and self-care.
Prerequisites: An interest in racial equity and justice.
Advanced Preparation: None but a willingness to listen and reflect on how race has shaped your life.
 See Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America 2-8 (Rowman & Littlefield 5th ed., 2018) (describing and theorizing Jim Crow racism, color-blind racism, symbolic racism, laissez-faire racism, and structural racism).
 See bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom 14 (Routledge 1994) (explaining philosophy of praxis to be “action and reflection upon the world in order to change it”).