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William S. Richardson School of Law

A day-long symposium organized by the University of Hawaiʻi Law Review staff at the William S. Richardson School of Law will explore racial biases affecting decision-making in law and education, bringing together leading legal scholars from across the nation.

The symposium, “Exploring Implicit Bias in Hawaiʻi,” will be held on Friday, January 16, 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m. at the UH law school. It is free and open to the public.

“Implicit biases are the pervasive attitudes or stereotypes that affect a person’s actions and feelings toward others in an unconscious manner,” explains Law Review Co-Editor-in-Chief Sean Wong ’15. “In a legal context, the ramifications are quite significant. Studies have shown that even people with an avowed commitment to impartiality—such as judges—are affected by implicit biases developed over the course of a lifetime.”

Said Richardson Dean Avi Soifer, “At least partially because of the great diversity of Hawaiʻi and of our law school, we truly are the nation’s leading law school in terms of scholarship on these complex yet very important issues. Our students have put together an absolutely first-rate symposium to discuss these matters seriously.”

The exploration of unconscious biases and their impact on the justice and educational systems in Hawaiʻii will include three panels on the topics of criminal justice, education and local biases and affordable housing.

Legal scholars, judges and attorneys from Hawaiʻi participating in the symposium include:

  • Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Associate Justice Simeon R. Acoba (ret.)
  • Richardson Associate Dean Ronette M. Kawakami
  • Professor Justin D. Levinson, director of the Culture and Jury Project
  • Eric K. Yamamoto, the Fred T. Korematsu Professor of Law and Social Justice
  • David L. Callies, the Benjamin A. Kudo Professor of Law
  • Associate Faculty Specialist Kenneth Lawson
  • Breann Swann Nuʻuhiwa, former fellow of Ka Huli Ao
  • Attorney Tawnee Sakima ’14
  • Attorney Scott Schmidtke ’14

—By Beverly Creamer

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