Beyond the Bench: Law, Justice, and Communities Summit

Breakout Session: Facilitator Notes 

3:45 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. Introductions

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Ask participants to briefly introduce themselves by name and profession.

3:50 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Discussion

The goal of this session is to take everything we’ve learned today and translate it into action.

Can we agree to make this a respectful conversation where everyone can share their thoughts and ideas? I encourage you to think big. Each of you were invited because you have the power to make a change in your community.

  • Direct everyone to the Summit Program, Questions to Consider on page 7.

The most common feedback after a conference is that the participants have more information about an issue, but no resources to turn their new found awareness and motivation into action. On Page 7 of the Summit Program you will find three questions adapted from a Bench Card developed by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

  • What assumptions have I made about people based on their cultural identity, profession or background?
  • How might my assumptions influence my decision-making?
  • What efforts have I made to challenge my assumptions?

These questions are intended to help you apply what we heard today from Professor Rachlinski about Intuitive-Override.

I encourage you to think about these questions and reflect on what you can do in your day-to-day life to address some of the challenges we’ve heard about today.

Does anyone have any thoughts to share about how questions like these might be used in your job, organization, or community?

  • If conversation does not flow easily, here are some ideas to present to the group:

What are some strategies to promote equity and rebuild trust in organizations or communities?

Based on a model developed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, here are six strategies that your organization might use to start the dialogue about change:

  1. Advance data-driven strategies - What do data tell us about outcomes for the people we serve, based on race and ethnicity?
  2. Develop Leaders - Does my organization provide the opportunity for everyone to develop leadership skills to strive for equity?
  3. Collaborate across systems – How can I help build networks of gatekeepers and advocates to seek sustainable solutions across institutional lines?
  4. Engage communities – Have we included community in dialogues, discussions, planning, and decision-making in efforts that will affect them?
  5. Promote Work Defined by Race Equity Principles – Do concepts of fairness and justice guide all programs, policies, and practices?
  6. Evaluate and Transform – Is every initiative, program, and policy is consistently evaluated for equity and effectiveness, leading to system transformation?

For example, in the setting of law enforcement and community, this might look like:

  • Data analysis by race - ensure that data are collected and examined
  • Community policing – officers doing outreach in addition to law enforcement
  • Local town hall style conversations – opening up dialogue for different perspectives
  • Know your rights with youth – helping youth navigate encounters with police
  • Afterschool Police Athletic League – pro-social activities and stronger communities
  • Community Service – different community members interacting with one another

4:10 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. 25/10 Crowd Sourcing Activity

The 25/10 activity is part of a suite of tools entitled Liberating Structures. The activity can be found online at

  • Give an overview of the process as follows:
    • First, every participant writes on an index card his or her bold idea and first step.
    • Then people mill around and cards are passed from person to person to quickly review.
    • Next, participants individually rate the idea/step on their card with a score of 1 to 5 (1 for low and 5 for high) and write it on the back of the card.
    • When the bell rings, cards are passed around a second time until the bell rings and the scoring cycle repeats.
    • This is done for a total of five scoring rounds. At the end of cycle five, participants add the five scores on the back of the last card they are holding.
    • Finally, all the cards are passed to the Facilitator, and the ideas with the top scores will be identified and shared with the whole group.
    • Note: Suggest a fun but clear rating scale. For example: 1 = going to the dentist to 5 = going to Disneyland.
  • Demonstrate one exchange-and-scoring interaction using a sample index card to clarify what is expected during the milling, namely no reading aloud of the cards, only passing the cards from person to person so that each person has only one card in hand. The process can be confusing for some people. 2 min.
  • Invite each participant to write a big idea and first step on his or her card. Encourage participants to think big and be very specific and concrete. 3 min.

Q: “What is a practical first step you can take now to bring about change in your community, profession, organization, or agency?”

  • Conduct five 2-minute exchange-and-scoring rounds with time for milling (and laughing) in between. 10 min.
  • Ask participants to add the 5 scores on the back of the card they are holding. Some of the scoring may be erratic. If a participant at the end of round five has a card with more or less than five scores, ask the participant to calculate the average of the scores and multiply this average by 5. 2 min.
  • Find the best-scoring ideas with the whole group by conducting a countdown. Participants will come back to the table where they were originally seated. Ask, “Who has a 25?” Continue with “Who has a 24?” “Who has a 23,” etc. Staff will come by to collect all the index cards, with the highest rated cards on top. 3 min.
  • Thank the participants. Let them know that a few of the highest ranking ideas will be shared with the larger group after the break, and that after the event