CERJ is a coalition of clinical community members, including faculty and staff who care deeply about centering and prioritizing racial justice and equity. Our goal is to recognize and work to dismantle existing white supremacist systems and structures within our own communities. Racial justice and equity must be at the forefront of all decisions and policies we make in the classroom, within our clinical programs, and beyond. Our charge is to create a more fulfilling, supportive, and anti-oppressive learning and professional environment.
CERJ Organizing Committee
Senior Conference Leadership Board
Materials from CERJ Sub-Committees
Toward an Antiracist Clinical Community, Pedagogy, & Practice
These reflections are intended to turn the focus inward to interrogate how the status quo of a clinic’s structure, practices, and teaching methods might contribute to racial inequities in the learning environment and legal field. On the other hand, we also ask how law school clinics might embody antiracist values prospectively. Drawing both from examples within own clinical community and its history, as well as from a review of literature that similarly grapples with operationalizing antiracism in teaching and legal practice, our reflections can be one tool in the process of a law school clinic’s ongoing self-improvement.
Clinic Self-Audit Checklist
This document point to areas for review and consideration within a clinic, including a clinic’s structure and design, leadership and decision-making, student engagement and experience, project and case selection, hiring and retention, public face, and training and educations on diversity, equity, and inclusion. It offers questions for examining clinical pedagogy and interpersonal relationships through an antiracist lens, and contains suggestions for training students to recognize and confront systemic racism as the next generation of legal professionals.
On May 9, 2022, members of the HLS clinical community gathered for a conference that included interactive workshops, presentations from CERJ sub-committees on their work, and an opportunity for cross-clinic collaboration and connection.
|9:00-9:10 am||Welcome: Professor Dehlia Umunna|
|9:10-9:25 am||Ice Breaker|
|9:30-10:00 am||HLS DEI Collaborators – Opportunities for Partnership, with Sasha Tulgan, Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX Program Officer, Edgar Filho, Equal Opportunity Specialist, and Stephen Ball, Assistant Dean and Dean of Students|
|10:15-12:15 pm||Inclusive Facilitation Workshop led by Audrey Grace|
|1:20-2:50 pm||CERJ reports from CERJ Clinical Self-Assessment and Hiring, Retention, and Promotion Sub-Committees|
|3:00-4:30 pm||Building a Vision – Community Dialogue led by HNMCP Facilitators and Merry Boak, Assistant Dean of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs|
The CERJ Conference attendees participated in a session in which they were asked to imagine that we have succeeded in building the inclusive, equitable, just, supportive community of your dreams. The attendees broke up in small groups and were asked to engage in some perspective taking with humility, based on what they have heard and learned from our various constituencies, and talk about what this vision for the future would look like. Later, the groups were asked: to achieve this future-state vision, what practices and behaviors will we need to take to get us there? In particular, they were asked to identify what practices and behaviors we should start, stop, and continue to do. After the groups had time for discussion, individual attendees wrote their ideas on the wall of sticky notes in which attendees were later able to walk around and read the notes.
We invite you to read some of your colleagues’ suggestions for how to achieve a more inclusive, equitable and just community. CERJ will be holding a future event to talk about what actions that CERJ, individual clinics, and clinics want to take to help advance some of these ideas in the clinical program in Academic Year 22-23.
Materials from Audrey Grace, Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Chief Diversity Officer at Regis College
Conference Participant Workbook from Audrey Grace’s Facilitation Session
This workbook given to participants at the conference contains exercises for evaluating the your response in navigating triggering events, examining your circle of influence, and strategies for discussing race and racism. It also contains the presentation slides, which outline approaches to take before, during, and after a microaggression occurs in the classroom.
Readings and Resources
This document contains Ms. Grace’s compilations of additional resources to continue your learning, including articles, books, blogs and op-eds, and TedTalks and other video resources.
Recognizing Microaggressions in the Classroom Worksheet
This worksheet identifies examples of microaggressions in classroom and school environments in an effort to raise awareness and sensitivity toward creating a more inclusive and supportive environment.
“Racialized Interactions in the Law School Classroom: Pedagogical Approaches to Creating a Safe Learning Environment” by Erin C. Lain
This article defines racialized interactions and psychological safety within the classroom and discusses typical professor responses. It explores best practices and practical tools for professors to help students navigate and learn from these interactions while maintaining psychological safety.
“Professionalism as a Racial Construct” by Leah Goodridge
This essay examines professionalism as a tool to subjugate people of color in the legal field. Goodridge examines three main aspects of legal professionalism: threshold to withstand bias and discrimination; selective offense; and the reasonable person standard. Goodridge details ways to disrupt professionalism as a racial construct.
“Toward a Race-Conscious Pedagogy in Legal Education” by Kimberle Williams Crenshaw
In this article, Williams Crenshaw outlines her view of some of the difficulties confronting minorities in the classroom and explains how her seminar, “Minority Voting Rights and Majoritarian Domination,” was developed to address them. The seminar explores the successes and failures of the legal strategies developed to address political disenfranchisement on the basis of race; creates an environment that presents an alternative to the traditional classroom experiences of minority students in majority-centered ;aw schools; and provides a support structure specifically designed to produce publishable student material.
“Helping Our Students Reach Their Full Potential: The Insidious Consequences of Ignoring Stereotype Threat” by Russell A. McClain
In this article, McClain explains the research on stereotype threat, discusses its implications for law schools, and makes several recommendations to combat the threat. McClain examines the ways stereotype threat presents itself from the admissions process through the law school performance, and lays out a framework for understanding and dealing with it.
“Tips for Teaching: Give ‘Wise’ Feedback” by Breana Bayraktar
Bayraktar presents a method for reframing the feedback you are providing to a student on their work in a way that communicates that students can meet high expectations and gives concrete direction for how to meet the expectations.
“Word to the Wise: Feedback Intervention to Moderate the Effects of Stereotype Threat and Attributional Ambiguity on Law Students” by Paula J. Manning
This article provides specific strategies law school faculty can employ in their written and verbal feedback statements to improve outcomes for their students. By employing “wise feedback” techniques, faculty can convey critical feedback in a manner that encourages effort and persistence and minimizes or eliminates the negative motivational effects of stereotype threat, thereby achieving the goal of improving performance and retention of minority law students.