August 27, 2019 Articles

Unlocking LGBTQ Equity in Law Firms … in Three Simple Steps

Improvisational theater techniques offer ideal tools for learning how to address bias.

By Brooke Cartus

We spend our lives cultivating a tool that perpetuates bias in our daily lives. What tool is that? I’ll give you a hint: it’s between your ears.

That’s correct: it’s your brain!

Since childhood, we have trained our brains to categorize everything—shapes, sizes, colors—because the recognition of differences helps us understand the world around us. Our ability to analyze and find differences where others see sameness is perpetuated in law school; for many of us, our ability to see nuance in an argument is the exact reason that we went to law school in the first place.

So how do we, as successful attorneys, take advantage of our ability to analyze complex situations quickly without letting our biases go unchecked? The answer lies in improv. Improvisational theater techniques offer ideal tools for learning how to lean into uncomfortable situations and create meaningful change that transforms individuals, teams, and organizations. This article first gives an overview of bias in the workplace and then sets out three changes that can be made using improvisational theater methods.

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