Lawyers Conference

Perceptions of Justice

The Judicial Division Task Force on Perceptions of Justice, co-chaired by Judge Cheryl D. Cesario, Judge Delissa A. Ridgway and Phyllis B. Pickett, was formed in 2013 as an offshoot of the Lawyers Conference Perception of Justice (POJ) project. The project began in 2008 under the leadership of Judge Michael B. Hyman of Chicago. Over the next three years, the Lawyers Conference held six programs around the nation that provided an open forum for dialogue between judges and members of local communities about perceptions of, and personal experiences, with the justice system. A modified “town hall” format with small group discussions was used for some programs and expert panels with audience participation were employed in others.

In July 2011, the Lawyers Conference published a Perceptions of Justice Report that provides an overview of each program and highlights some of the themes that emerged. The next phase the POJ project has included further review and analysis of the themes and lessons learned, and the production of specific strategies for addressing identified concerns. A panel discussion during the 2012 ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana began this process.

In the JD Record 2013 Summer Issue, the Lawyers Conference published Perceptions of Justice Toolkit: A How-to Guide for Planning a Local Event to Discuss Perceptions of Justice in Your Community, to assist bar associations, community groups, and other entities interested in conducting their own POJ town hall meetings. These tools were released in conjunction with the POJ March 2013 seminar in Chicago, under the leadership of Judge William D. Missouri.

The 2013 POJ Summit brought together representatives of the many discreet bar associations to address issues surrounding the perceptions of justice and acted as a wrap-up to the town hall meeting format for the Judicial Division, thus moving the effort forward toward bringing judges, courts, lawyers, and academia, and community groups together on a national scale to advance citizen understanding and support for the justice system on the one hand and better administration of justice for all on the other.

As POJ moves into the future, it continues to work on programming and resources related to the topic of implicit bias.

Please use this page as a resource for materials related to perceptions of justice.

Readings on Implicit Bias

Archer, Deborah N., There is no Santa Claus: The Challenge of Teaching the Next Generation of Civil Rights Lawyers in a 'Post-Racial' Society (February 14, 2013). Columbia Journal of Race and Law, Forthcoming; NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 26/2013; NYLS Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12/13 #58. 

Bandes, Susan A., Remorse and Demeanor in the Courtroom: Cognitive Science and the Evaluation of Contrition (December 4, 2013).

Bowers, Josh and Robinson, Paul H., Perceptions of Fairness and Justice: The Shared Aims & Occasional Conflicts of Legitimacy and Moral Credibility (2012). Wake Forest Law Review, Vol. 47, Pg. 211, 2012; University of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-13. 

Fruehwald, Edwin S., How to Help Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds Succeed in Law School (September 8, 2013). Texas A & M University Law Review.

Kang, Jerry and Bennett, Mark W. and Carbado, Devon W. and Casey, Pamela and Dasgupta, Nilanjana and Faigman, David L. and Godsil, Rachel D. and Greenwald, Anthony G. and Levinson, Justin D. and Mnookin, Jennifer, Implicit Bias in the Courtroom (March 20, 2012). UCLA Law Review, Vol. 59, No. 5, 2012; UCLA School of Law Research Paper.  

Lee, Cynthia, Making Race Salient: Trayvon Martin and Implicit Bias in a Not Yet Post-Racial Society (2013). 91 North Carolina Law Review, Forthcoming; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-97; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-97.  

Levinson, Justin D. and Young, Danielle, Different Shades of Bias: Skin Tone, Implicit Racial Bias, and Judgments of Ambiguous Evidence (May 6, 2010). West Virginia Law Review, Vol. 112, pp. 307-350, 2010.

Plaut, Victoria C., Thomas, Kecia M. and Goren, Matt J., Is Multiculturalism or Color Blindness Better for Minorities?, 20 Psychological Science 446 (2009).

Rachlinski, Jeffrey J. and Johnson, Sheri Lynn and Wistrich, Andrew J. and Guthrie, Chris, Does Unconscious Racial Bias Affect Trial Judges?. Notre Dame Law Review, Vol. 84, No. 3, 2009; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 09-11.  

Tyler, Tom and Fagan, Jeffrey and Geller, Amanda, Street Stops and Police Legitimacy: Teachable Moments in Young Urban Men’s Legal Socialization (June 3, 2013). Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 302; Yale Law & Economics Research Paper No. 476.

Additional Readings

Allen, Marlene D. and Williams, Seretha D. (Eds.). (2012). Afterimages of Slavery: Essays on Appearances in Recent American Films, Literature, Television and Other Media. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.

Banaji, Mahzarin R. and Greenwald, Anthony G. Blindspot, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People.  New York, NY:  Delacorte Press (2013).

Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. New York: Little, Brown and Co. (2005).

Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, fast and slow. Farrar Straus & Giroux. (2011). 

Resources

The ABA Section of Litigation Task Force on Implicit Bias developed its Toolbox for use in exploring implicit bias and approaches to “debiasing.”

Try the Project Implicit Bias Test, which measures implicit social cognition - thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control.

View Anderson Cooper’s “AC360 Town Hall - Race and Justice in America II” which aired July 23, 2013 on CNN.

Please visit the National Center for State Courts for a variety of resources and reports that address implicit bias.