Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Human service professions are increasingly acknowledging the ubiquitous role of culture in the human experience. This is evidenced in professional codes of ethics, professional school accreditation standards, licensing, and in some cases through state statutes regarding professional codes of conduct. Across professions, concerted efforts are being made to infuse standards of culturally responsive practice into curricular content and training. For example, instruction on cultural competence is expected in business and medical education.1 Psychology and social work both require their professionals to exercise cultural competence. When it comes to cultural competence/ though, the legal codes of ethics and professional practice are strangely silent. Legal education requires no courses on cultural competence.3 and neither the Model Rules of Professional Conduct nor the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct make mention of culture.4 Despite this gap in legal training and professional guidance, lawyers routinely encounter cultural differences and will do so with more frequency as American society becomes more diverse.5 This article briefly describes what it means to be culturally responsive and examines selected cases in which cultural differences were explicitly considered. Finally, the article makes suggestions for attorneys regarding cultural sensitivity or cultural humility.


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