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The Committee on Diversity in the Legal Profession ("Committee on Diversity") commends our State Bar’s members for taking the time to address the very important issue of cultural competency. When lawyers in New Mexico keep diversity as one of the foremost considerations, our legal system will benefit persons of all backgrounds. We believe that having lawyers that are trained to be sensitive to cultural differences generates public trust in our system. The Committee on Diversity encourages group discussions that include experienced and diverse attorneys. The Bridge the Gap Mentorship Program can provide a list of mentors and young lawyers who may be available for group discussions. In addition, it may be valuable to attend the Committee on Diversity’s annual CLE program with your mentor/young lawyer.
The Committee on Diversity has compiled the following resources to aid conversations in addressing the topic of cultural competency.
ABA Section of Litigation Implicit Bias Toolbox
ABA Criminal Justice Section Building Community Trust: Improving Cross-Cultural Communication in the Criminal Justice System resource containing a model curriculum for teaching cross-cultural communication.
ABA Section of Litigation Video: Neuroscience of Implicit Bias
Nicole Negowetti, Navigating the Pitfalls of Implicit Bias: A Cognitive Science Primer for Civil Litigators, 4 St. Mary’s Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics 278 (2014).
The Committee on Diversity strongly recommends taking an Implicit Association Test (IAT). Members, mentors and mentees should visit IAT page and become familiar with the IAT, take the test independently and talk about their experience taking the test, what they learned taking the test and how this test can relate to the practice of law.