Legal Consulting and Education

MCLEs

We offer two CLEs that provide Elimination of Bias credit in California. These CLEs are taught by Dr. Suzanne Wertheim, an expert in language and bias and an invited and keynote speaker. Dr. Wertheim has taught at bar associations up and down the state, and also presents the CLEs at law firms. Both courses are based in the science of linguistic anthropology, and teach lawyers about the systematic principles underlying the linguistic expressions of bias. The courses are based both on existing academic research and on original research and consulting done by Dr. Wertheim.

Analyzing the Language of Bias is a 60-minute course that teaches the ways that language expresses social meaning, and how linguistic components of bias and discrimination affect both legal practice and legal workplaces.

The American Bias towards Explicit “No” is a 60-minute course that teaches about the range of ways people express disapproval and resistance, the cultural constraints on explicit “no”, and how this can affect legal outcomes. This course is particularly useful for both civil and criminal litigators.

Diversity training for lawyers

Bias is a major concern in the law these days, both in legal practice and in legal workplaces. The ABA has updated its rule on misconduct to include harassment and discrimination, a recent survey by a prominent bar association resulted in page upon page of complaints about gender discrimination, and studies show that there are real issues for career velocity and retention for lawyers who are women or who are men of color.

If your law firm’s culture and communication patterns aren’t working, it can lead to:
• Less productive teams
• Employee dissatisfaction and disengagement
• Churn and attrition
• A negative reputation that leads to recruiting issues
• Problems meeting diversity and inclusion goals
• Discrimination or harassment lawsuits

Our diversity training, The Language of Bias and Inclusion, can help. The Language of Bias and Inclusion is data-driven communication training for today’s law firms. Informed by the latest social science research, our workshop is designed to improve your firm’s communication culture and to facilitate diversity and inclusion.

We know that billable hours are a priority, so the workshop can be set up as a series of once-a-week lunch and learns, thereby fitting in to your lawyers' busy schedules.

Legal consulting

American linguists and anthropologists have been consulting on legal cases large and small for many decades. We know that how things are said can give as much information as what is being said, and that it requires academic training to isolate, analyze, and articulate the social meaning encoded in language.

As expert witnesses, we can give professional testimony on cultural factors, gender issues, and subtle expressions of bias. Testimony based on linguistic anthropology meets the Frye admissibility standard for expert witnesses, which is used in California courts, and the Daubert standard, which is used in Federal courts.

As consultants, we can provide guidance for depositions and other aspects of discovery, helping you build the best possible basis for your case (and without needing to be listed for opposing counsel).

We also provide coaching for clients whose speech styles may cause their testimony to seem less credible or forceful in the courtroom, particularly women in court cases involving assault, discrimination, or harassment.

Listen to a half-hour discussion with employment lawyer Robert Nuddleman on ways that our services can benefit lawyers.

Contact us to start a discussion on how we might be able to help.