Creating for Equity & Access to Justice

Plenary 1
Tuesday, May 10

“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse

Matisse should know, as he revolutionized art in the early 1900s with his bright colors, expressive brushwork and abstract shapes. And he is right, for creativity calls on us to step away from what is familiar and safe, to risk rejection and ridicule, and to be true to our own identities and passions in the face of failure. This concept is often antithetical to what we do as lawyers and what students learn in law school about strict adherence to rules and precedent. Design process offers a synthesis of structure and creativity to foster creativity in legal thinking and delivery of services to marginalized, vulnerable constituencies. Creative designers experience an Aha! moment that inspires their designs, and designers who are the most creative spend more time exploring the design prompt and moving iteratively between the prompt and ideas for their expression/product. This session therefore unites experts in creative design process and deployment of technology and other innovations to advance access to justice to discuss how they work with creative designers and technologists and stimulate creativity in themselves and others. They also will share examples of creative work in equity and access to justice to help spark ideas in our own work.

Seizing the Moment

Plenary 2
Thursday, May 12

Can you be creative and have fun while working to dismantle structural barriers that gird the legal academy, education, and profession? We certainly hope so, as being creative is about seeing problems, connections, and patterns anew. Our present moment of “apparent wokeness” provides an opportunity to rethink equity in practice and policy. Should we focus on traditional metrics and demographics of inclusion and belonging? Can we dismantle the hierarchies that exist in our experiential spaces and beyond? Is radical inclusion possible? Finally, how can we as clinicians raise these questions, garner necessary support, and enforce accountability and recognition? Sharing their intersectional personal and professional experiences within the law and other disciplines, our speakers will explore these questions and more.