View the entire program here.

DALLAS, Texas (September 3, 2020) — The American Board of Trial Advocates will host the webinar, Dismissed with Prejudice: A Discussion on Race and the Trial of Civil Cases, with leaders in the legal community discussing race in the practice of litigation on October 2, 2020 via Zoom. Event planners say ABOTA’s mission to promote civility and equality in the courtroom is more important than ever.

This program seeks to educate lawyers on what they might be doing without even knowing that they have a bias. The panelists are distinguished trial lawyers and judges who will share their personal experiences to educate the legal community about implicit bias.  

The event will begin with opening remarks from Luther J. Battiste, III, ABOTA National President, who made history by becoming one of the first two African-Americans elected to the Columbia (South Carolina) City Council since Reconstruction. He served 15 years as a member of the Columbia City Council, including two terms as Mayor Pro Tempore. In 1998, the City of Columbia dedicated the Monument and Plaza to Luther J. Battiste, III in honor of his dedicated service as a public servant.

“The United States is at another inflection point in its history,” Mr. Battiste said. “The people of this country are telling us that it is time; it is necessary for us to address the history of racial injustice and systemic problems with policing and the legal system. This webinar seeks to begin the discussion.”

Creator of the program is longtime Los Angeles lawyer John E. Sweeney, who serves on the National Board of ABOTA and who developed the concept after working for years in a legal environment, including civil rights cases. He has received a not guilty verdict in a death penalty trial and a verdict above $1 million in a civil case, making him one of the most versatile trial lawyers in history.

“Implicit bias is so subliminal that the one who may harbor any type of bias may be the most forward-thinking, fair person in the room. Our discussion will be candid, open and direct,” said Mr. Sweeney, who also serves as a co-chair of ABOTA’s Diversity of Membership Committee. “This frank discussion is not intended to assess blame, but rather to help educate our fellow lawyers about understanding unconscious bias and how it can influence your decisions in the courtroom. Bottom line, this program will make you a better lawyer. The time has now come to talk openly about implicit bias.”  

Teresa Wineland, program co-chair, is an Advocate in ABOTA and  also co-chairs the Diversity of Membership Committee. She said the discussion will include personal accounts from the panelists as well as remarks from the Hon. Nicole Gaines Phelps on the state of diversity in the courtroom.  Judge Phelps is a Superior Court judge in King County, Washington. She is a highly regarded keynote speaker on various legal topics, including eliminating barriers to the justice system.

For more information about the program and panelists, view their biographies and the agenda of the program.

There is no registration fee for the webinar, but space is limited and registration is required. The webinar will be held from 11:30 am – 1:10 pm (Central) on October 2, 2020.

The ABOTA Foundation will apply for CLE credit in select states.

To register for Dismissed with Prejudice: a Discussion on Race and the Trial of Civil Cases, visit the events page.

About the American Board of Trial Advocates

ABOTA is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right to civil jury trials. ABOTA’s primary goal is to educate the American public about the history and value of the right to trial by jury.

Founded in 1958 with a current membership of more than 7,600 experienced attorneys representing both the plaintiff and defense bars in civil cases, ABOTA is dedicated to elevating the standards of skill, integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession.