This Article discusses the problem of implicit bias within the legal profession; why its persistence impedes the work that lawyers do; and the need for leaders to take steps to recognize, understand, and ameliorate it. Implicit biases, also referred to as unconscious biases, are prejudices that people have, but are unaware of their existence. These biases act as mental shortcuts based on known stereotypes and social norms that cause people to make decisions that favor one group to the detriment of another. Even though the United States has laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, and disability, these laws are incapable of confronting the systemic racism perpetuated by implicit bias. A law will not prevent people from reacting to biases that they are unaware they hold. For this reason, leaders cannot lead equitably without first discovering what biases may be influencing their decisions at the sub-conscious level. This Article calls for leaders within the legal profession to educate themselves about implicit bias, discover what implicit biases they harbor on a personal level, take time to ensure that their decisions are not being influenced by such biases, take steps to de-bias, and lead their constituents to do the same.
Polden, Donald J. and Andreson, Jenna M.,
Leadership to Address Implicit Bias in the Legal Profession,
62 Santa Clara L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/lawreview/vol62/iss1/4