A national expert on the neuroscience of decision-making—Kimberly Papillon—is coming to Salt Lake City to address the Utah State Bar at its annual Fall convention at the Grand America Hotel, November 19-20. Bar President Angelina Tsu says, “With current events ranging from police brutality to gender-based pay disparity to the recent tragedy in Paris, we are looking forward to hearing Papillon speak about the importance of sound decision making. Our hope is that, armed with this awareness, we can help influence our collective future by guiding our society with principles of equality and fairness rather than ones of fear and hate. What we learn from Papillon will help Utah lawyers remain on the forefront of positive change, and the public is invited to join us on this journey.”
People tend to prefer members of their own social or racial group to those outside it. Kimberly Papillon says that implicit tests have shown that U.S. judges rank within 1 percent of the general public in bias against African-Americans. “That’s a problem and at the same time it’s an opportunity,” says Papillon. “Implicit association tells us that we have something to override,” she notes. “One thing the scientists tell us repeatedly is that there is no awareness cure. There’s no such thing as, ‘I’m going to try harder not to be biased.’ We can override on some occasions, on many occasions, but eventually we become tired or busy and our brain defaults to our implicit associations.” Papillon has served as regular faculty at the National Judicial College since 2005.
Brain imaging and decision-making studies can explain how we determine intelligence, veracity, threat, and competence. Papillon’s work explores not only how unconscious association affects judges’ decisions, but also its impact on how district attorneys decide whether to press charges against someone, how public defenders determine whether to push for plea agreements for particular clients, and how jury members will react to certain defendants.
To attend Papillon’s presentation on Thursday, November 19, 12:00 to 3:00 p.m., please e-mail Stephen.Seko@utahbar.org or call 801-297-7036. Cost is $75 including lunch.
Additional experts speaking at the convention include trial specialist Roger Dodd who is a partner in Park City and Jacksonville (Florida) firms. Dodd will lead multiple sessions on Cross Examination. In early 2014, he obtained a $37 million verdict in Utah Federal Court in a commercial Plaintiff case as part of a trial team. “Never follow Mr. Dodd to the podium. He is a most dynamic speaker” said Justice Barbara Pariente of the Florida Supreme Court. Dodd is co-author of Cross-Examination: Science and Techniques.
Joe Patrice of AbovetheLaw.com will talk about social media’s impact on the practice of law. Patrice is an editor of the online publication Above the Law with a resume that includes practicing at two law firms and writing for Balloon-Juice, Jezebel, and Deadspin.
Fall Forum Co-chair Gabriel White reports that, “There will be an additional 19 sessions to help lawyers with their required continuing legal education, from Openings & Closings to Mind-Body Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions, and Relationships.”
Fall Forum Co-chair Amy Fowler noted that, “The vision of the Utah State Bar is a just legal system that is understood, valued, and accessible to all. At the Fall Forum, the Bar will recognize people who are helping to achieve that goal.” The Disaster Legal Response Committee will be recognized as Committee of the Year, Anne Burkholder of the YWCA Utah as Community Member of the Year, Tara Isaacson of Bugden & Isaacson for Professionalism, McKette Allred of Mc Kette Hinkins Allred for Pro Bono Attorney of the Year, and Mark Tolman of Jones Waldo and Scott Hansen of Select Portfolio Servicing for being Outstanding Mentors. See details at http://fallforum.utahbar.org/2015/awards/2015_FFAwards.pdf.