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February 01, 2023

Midyear 2023: Women leaders exchange strategies to thrive, attack bias

Diversity, equity and inclusion are part of the DNA of the American Bar Association, which has goals and policy pertaining to those issues. A program at the ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans will take a close look at a related topic: bias.

The Criminal Justice Section will present the roundtable discussion “Extending Justice 2: Strategies to Increase Inclusion & Reduce Bias (A Focus on Gender)” on Friday, Feb. 3 at 1-3 p.m. CST at the New Orleans Marriott.  

This is the second installment of ABA presentations inspired by the book “Extending Justice: Strategies to Increase Inclusion and Reduce Bias,” co-authored by Judge Bernice Donald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and professor Sarah Redfield of the University of New Hampshire.

The panelists, who each contributed a chapter to the book, include:

  • Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, director of the Indian Legal Clinic and associate clinical professor of law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
  • Tannera Gibson, lawyer, Burch Porter Johnson, Memphis, Tennessee
  • Andrew Grosso, principal attorney, Andrew Grosso & Associates, Washington, D.C.
  • Cynthia Orr, managing partner, Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr, San Antonio, Texas

Redfield, who will serve as panel moderator, said the program will be valuable for those interested in the ethics and practice of DEI. “This panel will have meaning for those of all sexual orientations and gender identities who want to deepen their understanding of the sources and manifestations of implicit biases in regard to group identity — in person and in cyberspace.”

Each panelist has an expressed interest in implicit bias and DEI and will bring their research-based and lived experiences to the discussion, Redfield said. ABA President-elect Mary Smith, a co-author of a chapter on Native American experiences, will give introductory remarks at the program.

The roundtable also will highlight perspectives stemming from race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, and intersectionality. The panelists have focused directly on impacts in the areas of women litigators, differential evaluation, Native American women and the gendered impacts of artificial intelligence.

Additionally, the discussion will offer valuable strategies to people who have been negatively impacted by bias as well as those who would be allies in DEI work, especially individuals who are committed but unsure of what strategic approach to follow, Redfield said.

The timing of the program is particularly appropriate as Resolution 501, sponsored by the Criminal Justice Section, on 10 Principles to Achieve Gender Equity in the Criminal Legal Profession will be considered by the ABA House of Delegates at the Midyear Meeting.