New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers to Partner with Burton Blatt Institute on Statewide Legal Education on Diversity and Inclusion in Legal Profession


Peter Blanck, University Professor and Chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, and Dr. Ynesse Abdul-Malak, BBI Post-doctoral Fellow, are collaborating with the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers to present a new statewide program of Continuing Legal Education on “Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession.” The series, to be presented in late March and early April 2018, involves six programs across New York State—Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, New York City, and Long Island. The title of the series is “Breaking Down Bias: Identifying and Eliminating Inequality in the Legal Profession.” Along with Academy Dean Christina Sonsire, Esq., Blanck and Abdul-Malak will explore explicit and implicit bias, and other barriers facing diverse attorneys across New York State. Using leading-edge developments and new research sponsored by the American Bar Association (ABA), they will discuss how perceptions of disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and age influence underlying attitudes and judgments in the legal community.

In 2017, the ABA launched a first-of-its kind nationwide longitudinal study, conducted by BBI, to identify biases encountered by disabled and LGBT+ lawyers in the legal profession, and to help develop and implement strategies to ameliorate such biases. The Academy seminar series will present preliminary findings from the ABA study, based on responses from more than 1,200 lawyers across the United States. The initial findings suggest the need for continuing efforts to promote the full and equal participation of all diverse persons, including lawyers with disabilities and who are LGBT+ in the legal profession.

About the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers

The mission of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers is to protect, preserve and enhance the civil justice system and the image of the legal profession. The Academy has more than 2,600 members statewide. The seminar series provides two credits of Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias credits, a new state mandatory CLE credit, effective 2018. For more information about the Academy and the dates and locations of the seminar series, visit:

About the Burton Blatt Institute

BBI reaches around the globe in its efforts to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities, with offices in Syracuse, NY, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Georgia. BBI builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, a pioneering disability rights scholar, to better the lives of people with disabilities. For more information about BBI and the dates and locations of the seminar series, visit: