Paul L. Caron

Thursday, February 16, 2023

The Buffalo Model And ABA Standard 303(c): Bias, Cross Cultural Competency, And Antiracism

Kim Diana Connolly (SUNY-Buffalo) & Elisa Lackey (SUNY-Buffalo), The Buffalo Model: An Approach to ABA Standard 303(c)'s Exploration of Bias, Cross Cultural Competency, and Antiracism in Clinical & Experiential Law, 70 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y __ (2023):

Journal of law and policyThis essay offers initial contemplations shortly after the inception of a new opportunity for clinical and experiential legal education in the United States: the addition of 303(c) to the ABA standards, requiring that law schools “shall provide education to law students on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism.” This new law school accreditation obligation concretizes what many clinicians, externship directors, and other experiential teachers have been doing for decades: teaching inclusion, justice, and belonging. Clinical Legal Education programs historically have centered teaching student attorneys about cultural competency, anti-bias, diversity, difference, and related issues.

This will be looked back on as an early analysis and response to ABA Standard 303(c), the important but very new law school accreditation requirement adopted in 2022. The authors look forward to learning from many voices on this topic in the months and years to come. The ideas shared here are intended to offer starting places, catalyze conversations, and strengthen common practices and themes that clinicians and experiential teachers have pioneered for decades.

We encourage those in clinical and experiential legal education to embrace opportunities offered by this new standard. When our community remains open to all interested voices; offers robust materials, opportunities for discussion, application, and reflection; honors both academic experts, as well as those with lived experience among our community partners and clients; and both centers and prioritizes true justice, amazing things can emerge. By effectively deploying the intent of ABA Standard 303(c), clinical and experiential legal education can continue its tradition of preparing students to provide “competent representation; promotion of justice, fairness, and morality; continuing improvement of the profession; and professional self-development.”

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