Professor Deborah O'Malley Presents on Intergroup Dialog at Legal Storytelling Conference
Associate Teaching Professor Deborah O'Malley presented "Sharing Our Stories, Coming Together: The Power of Intergroup Dialogue in Legal Education" at the Seventh Biennial Conference on Applied Legal Storytelling at the University of Colorado at Boulder, July 9-11, 2019.
"During my presentation, I talked about the intergroup dialogue I hosted at the College of Law in fall 2018," explains O'Malley. "I posited ways I believe intergroup dialogue can be utilized to help students develop key lawyering skills."
In May 2018, O’Malley was awarded a Syracuse University Diversity and Inclusion Grant for her project "SU College of Law Student Leader Transformative Dialogue". This project engaged student leaders in a dialogue group with their peers to help foster recognition and understanding of individual and group differences. A follow-up study investigated whether intergroup dialogue can be an effective tool for helping law students develop professional skills such as compassion, empathy, and the ability to recognize and appreciate multiple perspectives.
"My session described how the College implemented intergroup dialogue to create new levels of understanding between, and action by, student leaders," adds O'Malley. "Participants were encouraged to share stories, listen actively, and suspend judgment during discussions addressing issues of privilege and oppression. In the wake of our success, I propose using intergroup dialogue as a tool to help law students develop key lawyering skills."
The Seventh Applied Legal Storytelling Conference was a collaboration of the Legal Writing Institute and the Clinical Legal Education Association. The program explored a spectrum of topics in legal storytelling, including presentations about wills, guardianships, criminal law, resistance and resilience, testimonial oaths, and gender discrimination.