Shedding Light on our Common Humanity

One of the challenges in the practice of law is interaction between people who are different from each other in various ways. Even the simplest of encounters can leave people feeling confused, frustrated, offended, or (worst of all) seriously hurt—even when everyone involved began with the best of intentions. It is imperative that lawyers and other legal professionals learn to identify their blind spots in this tricky area. 

LESA is pleased to be hosting a webinar with Chris Osborn and Michael Kahn from ReelTime CLE this fall that explores cross-cultural interactions and the ways that so-called “implicit” or unconscious biases that we all have can affect how we interact with each other.

Chris Osborn shared this on a LinkedIn post recently and we thought it “shed some light” on the importance of this discussion.

Can we really “eliminate” bias?

Or might we set a more realistic goal to “illuminate” it—i.e., shine a light on where, when and how it shows up, to bring it out of the shadows and the subconscious where it lurks?

Maybe then we can identify and implement ways to interrupt it, keep it from influencing our decision-making, and act in ways that help begin to remediate the harm it’s already caused?

Reframing the discussion in those terms has certainly been helpful in my own journey. Listening to people from all kinds of different backgrounds describe their lived experiences has significantly changed the way I view things like bias, privilege, preferences, and what genuine inclusion really means.

And those listening opportunities have only come when organizations create safe spaces for people to have honest dialogue about biases, and how they operate in all of us.

The point is not to shame or “guilt trip”anybody – that doesn’t really help, and just provokes defensiveness.

Rather, it’s about exploring our common humanity, and the foibles & cognitive shortcuts to which we are all susceptible.

And how seeing one another as whole persons, rather than merely as members of defined groups or categories, can (at the risk of metaphorical excess) open doors, build bridges, and render battle lines obsolete. (Or at least less deeply entrenched.)

ReelTime CLE is grateful to get to facilitate this kind of conversation for our friends at LESA in Alberta next month. Here’s hoping lots of Albertans will join us for a lively, thought-provoking, and practical discussion.

We invite you to join us online for this interactive and important workshop. Details and registration can be found here.

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