Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2017

Abstract

Over the past two decades, there has been an outpouring of scholarship that explores the problem of implicit bias. Through this work, commentators have taken pains to define the phenomenon and to describe the ways in which it contributes to misunderstanding, discrimination, inequality, and more. This article addresses the role of implicit cultural bias in the delivery of legal services. Lawyers routinely represent clients with backgrounds and experiences that are vastly different from their own, and the fact of these differences can impede understanding, communication, and, ultimately, effective representation. While other professions, such as medicine and social work, have adopted measures that are designed to mitigate the effects of cultural bias on service delivery, the legal profession lags far behind. In contrast to professionals in these other disciplines, lawyers have seen little by way of change-to either educational models or to the Rules of Professional Conduct-with an eye toward addressing the problem of cultural bias. This article seeks to highlight the failure of the legal profession to take such steps and suggests avenues for reform.


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