New DEI Training Program from Practising Law Institute Offers Interactive Learning Experience

Practising Law Institute (PLI), a nonprofit leader in continuing legal education, is responding to the legal industry’s need for in-depth, actionable training on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) with a groundbreaking new two-hour CLE program, now available on demand.

The CLE program, Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession: Addressing Implicit Bias, was produced by the learning design experts from PLI’s Interactive Learning Center, in consultation with recognized authorities on DEI, including Michelle Silverthorn, founder and CEO of Inclusion Nation.

Unlike any other DEI program on the market, the program uses the production of a new television legal drama as the setting, asking participants to cast roles, alter scripts, and make story suggestions to improve diversity and inclusion in the show’s fictional firm. Participants are challenged to take the perspectives of attorneys to experience how microaggressions and implicit bias occur in day-to-day workplace scenarios.

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“Law firms are well aware of the need to improve diversity and inclusion and interrupt harmful patterns of bias within their organizations. But tackling this topic requires more than just another training program — it means asking difficult questions around hiring, promotion, work assignments, and so much more,” says Silverthorn. PLI’s interactive program “invites participants to experience and make decisions around situations they might encounter in the workplace,” she continues. “More than a training program, it can also be a tool to help foster authentic discussions that can make a real difference in how organizations approach diversity, and how individuals relate to one another.”

Offering fresh perspectives on the beliefs, policies, and organizational procedures that may contribute to implicit bias and create barriers to true diversity and inclusion, the program will be useful to practitioners at all levels, from law students to experienced partners and in-house counsel.

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“Data shows that the most effective DEI training requires learners to take the perspectives of others and to set goals to achieve diversity and inclusion. With that in mind, our experts designed a program that incorporates these methodologies, featuring scenarios that put learners in others’ shoes, and guidance on creating an action plan for their own DEI goals,” says PLI President Sharon L. Crane. “We are proud to add this one-of-a-kind program to PLI’s growing roster of DEI resources for the legal community.” In addition to producing DEI content for lawyers, she notes, PLI is pursuing opportunities to foster and promote diversity in the legal profession, including developing resources to serve DEI professionals within firms.

Given its interactive and goal-setting components, the program is a good fit for PLI Member organizations wishing to offer Groupcasts to facilitate discussions among colleagues. In addition, program participants may earn up to two hours of Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination of Bias credits. California-licensed attorneys may fulfill all of California’s new two-hour Elimination of Bias requirement, including the required one hour of Implicit Bias training, with successful completion of the program.

Silverthorn comments: “With its Interactive Learning Center, PLI has the knowledge and the resources to create something truly unique in the space of DEI education. When I learned that they were interested in developing an interactive program using real-world scenarios, I was intrigued. And when I saw that the program emphasizes the perspectives of those impacted by bias, I was excited to get involved. The program teaches essential lessons — but just as important, it teaches them in an accessible and effective way.”

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