Brooklyn Law Review


This article takes you on a journey through concept to practice where minoritized populations are often judged less than—less competent, less intelligent—and pushed to society’s margins because they do not speak or write “the Queen’s English.” This practice is particularly pervasive and handicapping to diversity efforts in the legal profession, beginning in law school classrooms. To make any headway into the legal profession’s lack of diversity, a better understanding is required of the undeniable connectedness of how our biases show up in our informal and formal assessment of the speech and writing of those whom we encounter. While it is not a new concept, implicit bias, as discussed specifically in this article by way of linguistic profiling and accent bias, is yet another mechanism by which those of minoritized status are further relegated to the margins of society. So many people read the literature and examine the studies but miss the connection to their own behavior. This article, however, connects the literature and those studies, along with our biases, to the brain and the resultant implications of its flawed processing. To that end, this paper begins broadly in Part I, discussing implicit bias and some of its most common types as they relate to legal education and law practice. Part II discusses specifically how implicit bias informs accent bias and linguistic profiling, often resulting in lower grades and harsher feedback for minorities. In Parts III and IV, the article discusses what this all (implicit bias, specifically, linguistic profiling and accent bias) means in the law school classroom and in the profession, respectively. Finally, in Part V, the article considers some solutions to this conundrum, discussing what should be done about our implicit biases, viewed through the lens of linguistic profiling and accent bias, so that diversity and inclusion is possible in the legal classroom and the legal profession.