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The ABA Section of Litigation has developed this Toolbox for use in exploring implicit bias and approaches to “debiasing.” Some of the materials are the Section’s own; others are taken from additional sources. Two have been particularly helpful. First, this work relies greatly on the Building Community Trust Model Curriculum and Instruction Manual developed as a Joint Project of the ABA Criminal Justice Section, Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, and Council on Racial and Ethnic Justice. With enormous gratitude and respect for their work, we acknowledge our colleagues’ generous sharing of approach, knowledge, and materials. A second leading source for information and training materials is the pioneering work of the National Center for State Courts, which has also piloted a Toolbox approach.


The toolbox is designed to be used for group presentation. It offers introductory materials for the facilitator, quick reading list for possible use pre-session , a Powerpoint with a set of Powerpoint instructions for the facilitator , and post-session evaluation materials. For some parts of the program, the Toolbox offers video.

The self-guided presentation and the toolbox as a whole are works in progress, and we welcome all comments, suggestions, and contributions to enrich the materials and make them as widely useful as possible.

Estimated Time: 90 minutes CLE

Recommended Facilitators/Presenters: We recommend that faculty and facilitators for your program reflect diversity. We believe that the toolbox can be used by an interested facilitator willing to carefully prepare from the materials provided. You may want to consider bringing in a social psychologist or cultural competency trainer from your area to assist in presenting these materials. If you elect to partner with a psychologist or cultural competency expert, we encourage you to spend sufficient time talking with your expert prior to the training, so as to bridge any potential gaps in knowledge about the legal system and the anticipated audience.

The Section can also help you locate faculty and facilitators to present the materials in its Toolbox. Please contact Professor Sarah Redfield for help in this regard at 207-752-1721 (cell) or [email protected]. The ABA Criminal Justice Section can also provide the names of potential faculty members from each sector of the criminal justice system who are familiar with their Model Curriculum. Please contact Salma Safiedine at (202) 662-1590 or [email protected]for a list of faculty who may be available to assist in the program you are planning.

Also we suggest that you consider opportunities for blended learning—having the participants review substantive materials in advance of a training event, thereby reserving the valuable resource of time in the same room for a brief review of the substantive material and more active engagement when present. In this day and age of shrinking budgets and decreasing training dollars, having participants preview lectures online has the potential to leverage your resources and to maximize the impact of the training. You may also want to consider setting up a follow-up listserv or discussion site online for participants to continue their learning.

Objectives of the Presentation

  1. Understand what implicit bias means and how it may influence our decisions
  2. Understand that being implicitly biased does not necessarily mean we act in explicitly biased ways.
  3. Learn to recognize some behaviors that may suggest bias or differential treatment.
  4. Learn some techniques that help debias perceptions and improve interactions.


[Instructions for using the Powerpoint]

  1. Start using Powerpoint  for introductions, etc.
  2. Five Circle—introductory exercise (on Powerpoint)
  3. Implicit Association Test—take online (citation and background included with Powerpoint)
  4. Debiasing (on Powerpoint)
  5. References cited with the Powerpoint
  6. At the end of the Powerpoint, plan on showing the Section’s video, The Science and Implications of Implicit Bias.*
  7. Offering a brief time for discussion & concluding remarks

*This twenty-minute film offers a great summary of the neuroscience relevant to understanding implicit bias. Showing it at the end of the Powerpoint Presentation offers a good overview and conclusion.