Elon Law Leadership Fellows organize workshop on inclusivity, implicit bias & dialogue
Samantha Mungro and Andreas Mosby, who graduate in December, planned a morning program this fall for students in Elon Law’s Class of 2019 who will work with classmates and clients of all backgrounds in the years ahead.
Their message was simple: Effective lawyers must recognize their own biases to be more effective and compassionate in representing clients.
And for two Elon Law Leadership Fellows who graduate in December, one way to help future attorneys develop cultural competency, and understanding and appreciation for implicit bias, is to introduce the concept early in law school.
Samantha Mungro and Andreas Mosby completed a portion of their Leadership Fellows Capstone projects in late August with a special workshop for first-year students who learned ways to promote dialogue about race and ethnicity.
The two students recruited Reiney Lin, assistant director of Elon University’s Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education, and Stacie Dooley, Elon Law’s director of Student Life, for the Aug. 31 morning presentations to the Class of 2019.
“This workshop on implicit bias, race and ethnicity is one of several forms of workshops that we hope may soon become part of the Elon Law experience,” Mosby said. “While these workshops are focused on first-year students, we hope that the teachings equip them with the skills to address and alleviate issues of this nature should they arise during their practice of law and during their everyday lives.”
Morning activities included group conversations about implicit bias, exercises that challenged students’ critical thinking abilities and open discussions about issues that focused on identity, inclusiveness, and why understanding of past experiences – and existing biases – can limit someone’s potential.
The two Leadership Fellows said they believed the experience will help students in ways both obvious and subtle over the next several years.
“It’s important to be competent in these areas in order to effectively provide legal representation,” Mungro said. “With all of the racial disparities occurring in this country, it is important to promote positive change and raise awareness about the various issues that impact minorities or other disparate groups as we help to build a better future for everyone.”
Since 2009, students invited into the Leadership Fellows program demonstrate exceptional leadership through community, collegiate, military, or other leadership experiences, as well as academic achievement.
They also identify, through an essay in the Leadership Fellows application process, how the leadership skills they have acquired could be further developed and utilized at Elon University School of Law, in the practice of law, and in their communities.
Leadership Fellows are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA, assist administration and faculty with the Leadership Lecture Series and other leadership programming, and undertake a Capstone project during their third-year of study.