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Standing Committee on Professionalism

2024 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award Recipient

Stanford Law School- ePluribus

ePluribus is dedicated to pluralism and the rule of law, and to the idea that we become better lawyers and leaders in and through engagement with difference. We seek to cultivate the virtues of humility, curiosity, candor, empathy, courage, intellectual rigor, and service in a community constituted by difference in order to promote these virtues in society, government, and the practice of law. ePluribus was founded in 2021 by Stanford Law School to promote constructive dialogue across difference and conflict de-escalation by training law students in the necessary skills. Opportunities for open dialogue in law schools and law practice have deteriorated, reducing the quality and quantity of engagement across differences in experience, identity, and viewpoint. Law schools can and should do more to prepare 21st century lawyers to play constructive roles in both legal and public controversies.

ePluribus is built on a leadership cultivation and deliberative practice model. The program begins with a series of two 75-minute training workshops on skills fundamental to constructive dialogue across difference: active listening skills, recognition of cognitive bias (one’s own and others), emotional intelligence, skills for managing and de-escalating discussion of controversial topics, and practices of repair. Training workshops are interactive, relying on a deliberative practice model drawn from professional clinical education where the main objective is to ensure the acquisition and integration of key skills through embodied practice, simulation, repetition, assessment, and reflection. Once the skills workshops are complete students move into small reading groups that cover controversial topics selected by the group. Readings are intellectually rigorous and always provide plural, conflicting perspectives on the topics. The discussion model is immersive, not debate style and is facilitated by program faculty.