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07 - Cultural Competency Resources

Best Practices in Pro Bono:
Cultural Competency Resources

The Best Practices in Pro Bono Guides were created to provide a model for pro bono programs and increase consistency in pro bono work across organizations. The guides present concise practical information on implementing and maintaining pro bono projects. The content in this section was gathered by Laura Dym Cohen, Clinical Professor, Southwestern Law School with a sincere thank you to Angela Inzano, Program Manager, The Chicago Bar Foundation for sharing their resources with us.

What is Cultural Competency?

A meaningful attorney-client relationship is built on communication and understanding. The world in which legal aid and pro bono attorneys and law student volunteers work to build that attorney-client relationship is increasingly cross-cultural and there is often a gap to bridge between attorneys’ life experiences and those of our clients. This gap can be influenced by any number of cultural norms and experiences, including, but not limited to: ethnicity, race, gender, nationality, age, economic status, social status, language, sexual orientation, physical characteristics, marital status, role in family, birth order, immigration status, religion, accent, skin color, or experiences with trauma.

Cultural competency improves the attorney-client relationship and experiences and, as a result, case outcomes.

What is the goal of this section?

The goal here is to provide you wit h many options for incorporating cultural competency into your trainings which may be 15 minutes during your substantive training, as resources supplementing your tr ainings, or as you prepare an extensive in-depth training program. As way of disclaimer, The Chicago Bar Foundation did not intend the following pages to be an exhaustive list of available trainings and materials - that would very likely be an impossible f eat. Instead, consider this a jumping off point for your cultural competency journey.

References

The following pages provided by The Chicago Bar Foundation are also available here: https://chicagobarfoundation.box.com/s/gpmlt0jwrt3mrnuynlawd61wifs0d5mj.

Cultural Competency Training Resources for Legal Aid and Pro Bono Attorneys

As any attorney knows, a meaningful attorney -client relationship is built on communication and understanding. The world in which legal aid and pro bono attorneys work to build that attorney -client relationship is increasingly cross -cultural and there is often a gap to bridge between attorneys’ life experiences and those of our clients. This gap can be influenced by any number of cultural norms and experiences, including, but not limited to: ethnicity, race, gender, nationality, age, economic status, social status, language, sexual orientation, physical characteristics, marital status, role in family, birth order, immigration status, religion, accent, skin col or, or experiences with trauma.

This collection of resources grew out of national conversations about the importance of cultural competency in lawyering for legal aid and pro bono attorneys and what resources existed for training attorneys on these and related competencies. Cultural competency improves the attorney -client relationship and experiences and, as a result, case outcomes.

The goal here is to provide you with many options for incorporating cultural competency into trainings for legal aid and pro bono attorneys. That might be 15 minutes during your substantive pro bono training, it might be provided resources outside a live training, or it might be extensive in -depth training programs. As way of disclaimer, we don’t intend this to be an exhaustive list of available trainings and materials -that would very likely be an impossible feat. Instead, consider this a jumping off point for your cultural competency journey.

This collection is organized by type of resource and the most comprehensive resources are listed first in each section whenever possible. Length of resources (i.e. for videos or scholarly articles) are noted and resources are free to access unless otherwise noted. Many of these resources qualify for CLE credit. If you have any feedback about the resources included, or the organization of this document, please don’t hesitate to let us know by emailing Angela Inzano, Program Manager at the Chicago Bar Foundation, at ainzano@chicagobar.org .

Video Resources
Online Trainings

A note: many of these online programs are through Practising Law Institute (PLI), which is an invaluable resource for cultural competency and other trainings for legal aid and pro bono attorneys. Some programs are free to all and others are free to PLI members. In addition to the on-demand trainings listed, PLI often offers webcast programs on various topics related to cultural competency that interested attorneys should keep an eye out for when released.

Websites
Powerpoints
Articles
Books
In-Person Resources
  • Racial Justice Training Institute , Shriver Center
    An extensive training for those admitted; shorter courses and resources also available.
  • Race and the Legal System: Tools for Engaging in Constructive Conversations
    A Minnesota based in -person training presented by the MN Association of Black Lawyers and Volunteer Lawyers Network .
  • Poverty Simulation , Tiela Chalmers Consulting
    An interactive role play simulation designed to educate participants on the realities that low -income individuals face day to day. There are costs associated with this training.
  • Poverty Simulation , The Center for Community Insight, Inc.
    A guided, live -action experience that promotes a deeper understanding of poverty. There are costs, on a sliding scale, associated with this training.
  • Maria Mercedes Avila, Ph.D. , a cultural competency trainer based in Vermont who has presented to attorneys through Vermont Volunteer Lawyers Project .
  • Jennifer Eberhardt Ph.D. , a researcher based at Stanford who focuses on the effect of unconscious ideas about race on the workings of the criminal justice system.
Other Resources to Consider in Putting Together Cultural Competency Trainings

Category: Pro Bono

Tags: Pro Bono