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Author Topic: Would AA make you less likely to hire a black lawyer/doctor?  (Read 25316 times)

SouthSide

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Re: Would AA make you less likely to hire a black lawyer/doctor?
« Reply #250 on: May 12, 2006, 06:42:22 AM »
I'm saying Sharks in 6. It has been a phenomenal series thus far.
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Lily Jaye

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Re: Would AA make you less likely to hire a black lawyer/doctor?
« Reply #251 on: May 12, 2006, 03:47:32 PM »
This mini-thread has gotten out of hand, so I'm paring down the quoting to just answer something that I think is at the heart of it.  Forgive me if I've taken out too much, and let me know if you think I've missed something important.

This is the part I wonder about.  I've noticed that undergrad and law schools tend to be very intellectually lazy in the admissions process, at least compared to the graduate admissions programs I'm familiar with.  Even though what I'm about to say is anecdotal, I've seen that laziness reflected in the makeup of the student bodies.  In all my time in and around Penn and Princeton, I only met two minority from a truly poor background, and they both attended good private schools thanks to parental tuition benefits.  While the minorities were less affluent than whites, I couldn't find anyone from Strawberry Mansion. 

Now, I know it makes sense to hide your background at these schools, but I'm good at spotting the little things.  (Sadly, not House or Veronica Mars level, but "you speak in the passive voice a lot; are you from Kiev?" good.)

I completely agree that admissions committees are intellectually lazy.  I think it might be in part because, unlike elite liberal arts graduate programs, the study of law doesn't require any particular set of skills or interests, or a specific type of preparation, and thus you get a huge number of people applying with very few weeding characteristics and little in common with one another. In combination with the size of most law school classes

I'm not sure this really matters.  At Princeton, some departments get 1,000+ applications for eight or ten spots -- and the individual departments do the selection themselves (i.e., no admissions offices).

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that helps me understand why law schools end up relying on silly things like index numbers and the pedigree of certain undergraduate institutions, and much less on writing samples and recommendations and interviews and such.

That said, I just don't believe that the use of race in admissions is a particularly egregious form of this laziness.

To be honest, I don't think it's more egregious either.  My point is mostly just that the implementation based on laziness undermines the reason for its existence.

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  Yes, I think it would be really great if more lower-class URM students went to law school, and I think this would happen if there were greater attention to the challenges individual applicants face -- even without a specific program of socioeconomic AA.  But I don't see URM admissions as a fixed quantity so that upper- and middle-class URM students have to be excused to make room for their poor and working class brothers and sisters. Do you?  Can't we have more rich Latinos, middle-class African Americans, and poor Native Americans at the same time? 

Ideally, yes.  Realistically, no.  The more I look at it, the more I'm convinced that it really is a zero-sum game. 

Why? Because at the end of the day, law schools are watching USNWR -- and numbers are a huge determinant of where their schools will wind up.  You don't get a bonus for having 20% of your class be black intsead of 10%, but unless you're one of the schools the USNWR is using to "prime" the rankings (i.e., HYS), you will get penalized for having your LSAT median drop. (See Boalt.) If they can have their diversity numbers be respectable while getting students with higher scores to enroll, they will.

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You know, I have a fairly rigid socialist training, and I was loath to admit it for a long time, but race really does matter.  African American and Native American and Latino and Hmong (etc.) communities need lawyers to represent them, lawyers who reflect them and who understand the specific dynamics of their racial experiences.  I work with many lawyers who represent a racial group that is different than their own, and I think that's great.  But I've also noticed how, occasionally, these lawyers don't "get" things, how sometimes folks just want to talk to someone who understands better, who looks like them, who speaks a bit of Kreyol, whatever. I think that's fair.

I agree.

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I also know that even upper-income African American and Latino families face huge disadvantages in life compared to their white counterparts: fewer assets, worse schools, diminshed expectations from teachers, worse healthcare, bad encounters with cops, etc., etc.  I think it's right that AA should account for these qualities in addition to family income, and race itself is an imperfect but fairly reliable index.

I agree that upper-income URMs face problems with race that their white counterparts don't.  In an ideal world, if the choice came down to them and a white person with an identical background and identical qualifications, the choice should go to the URM applicant. 

The problem is that in the real world, it's not implemented that way.  :-\

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p.s. This is the Lily I know and love!  Astute, thoughtful, witty.

Thanks. :-*
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Lily Jaye

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Re: Would AA make you less likely to hire a black lawyer/doctor?
« Reply #252 on: May 12, 2006, 03:50:23 PM »
This is where we fundamentally differ.  I think that schools should take the most qualified applicants, based mostly on numbers and to some degree interesting life experiences (note: being a URM does not, in itself, qualify as an interesting life experience).  If this means that the whole class is comprised of Long Island Jews and Asians, so be it. 

I don't think law schools have clearly thought about what they actually want, making the numbers they rely on pretty silly.

If they want people who will be good law students, relying on the LSAT, statistically speaking, is probably the most viable option. 

This misses my point, and in re-reading my post, I realized that it's because work's been insane so my sleep deprivation limited my clarity.

My point is that they're not entirely certain whether they want students who'll get good grades, or students who will be successful lawyers.  Consequently, the LSAT may be the best tool available, but it's still an abysmal one.  My ultimate point is that the system itself needs to be overhauled.
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FossilJ

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Re: Would AA make you less likely to hire a black lawyer/doctor?
« Reply #253 on: May 12, 2006, 04:08:15 PM »
Roloson has been great, not heroic.  Yeah, we'll see what happens.  If Cheech gets some goals, I think we've wrapped this series up.  Without finals now I'd go to game 5.


Where can I have a class of only Asians and Long Island Jews?  That would be my dream school.  Are any of the NYC schools like that?

San Jose in 7, my friend.

And if you don't call that stop on Cheechoo last night heroic, I don't know what is.  Awkward, but heroic.



SJ in 5.  I hope.

The stop was heroic; however, his play has been great, but far from Bryzgalov.  Pretty much even with some of the robs Toskala has had.

In terms of pressure, I'd say all three of these goalies have been heroic.  But yeah, neither have been Bryzgalov-type heroic. 

I've seen Edmonton-Dallas too many times to think that this series won't go to seven games.  I want the Oilers to win, but I just don't think they have the fire power. 

If they do win, however, you guys won't see me for a while.  I'll be down on Whyte Avenue getting hammered for a week straight.

Pish, J only wants to waste YOUR time.  Get wise.

Miss P

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Re: Would AA make you less likely to hire a black lawyer/doctor?
« Reply #254 on: May 13, 2006, 01:05:04 AM »
This is the part I wonder about.  I've noticed that undergrad and law schools tend to be very intellectually lazy in the admissions process, at least compared to the graduate admissions programs I'm familiar with.  Even though what I'm about to say is anecdotal, I've seen that laziness reflected in the makeup of the student bodies.  In all my time in and around Penn and Princeton, I only met two minority from a truly poor background, and they both attended good private schools thanks to parental tuition benefits.  While the minorities were less affluent than whites, I couldn't find anyone from Strawberry Mansion. 

Now, I know it makes sense to hide your background at these schools, but I'm good at spotting the little things.  (Sadly, not House or Veronica Mars level, but "you speak in the passive voice a lot; are you from Kiev?" good.)

I completely agree that admissions committees are intellectually lazy.  I think it might be in part because, unlike elite liberal arts graduate programs, the study of law doesn't require any particular set of skills or interests, or a specific type of preparation, and thus you get a huge number of people applying with very few weeding characteristics and little in common with one another. In combination with the size of most law school classes

I'm not sure this really matters.  At Princeton, some departments get 1,000+ applications for eight or ten spots -- and the individual departments do the selection themselves (i.e., no admissions offices).

This is true.  But I do think that the more specific training requirements and research needs of individual departments and faculty will make some decisions automatic.  He wants to write on Bourne and your American intellectual historian is leaving next year?  Chuck him.  The faculty need research assistance in emerging questions on ultracold atomic physics?   Only a handful of departments could prepare someone for that. Etc. Etc.  Law schools have neither the same investment (research needs) nor the same narrow criteria for admissions.  I do think this makes it difficult.  Not that it's an excuse...

That said, I just don't believe that the use of race in admissions is a particularly egregious form of this laziness.

To be honest, I don't think it's more egregious either.  My point is mostly just that the implementation based on laziness undermines the reason for its existence.

Okay, but I just don't think the results are that bad.  I'd like to see more URM students in law schools, and I'd like to see more class diversity.  I don't have any concerns about the qualifications or class backgrounds of the URM students who do end up getting in and going. 

Yes, I think it would be really great if more lower-class URM students went to law school, and I think this would happen if there were greater attention to the challenges individual applicants face -- even without a specific program of socioeconomic AA.  But I don't see URM admissions as a fixed quantity so that upper- and middle-class URM students have to be excused to make room for their poor and working class brothers and sisters. Do you?  Can't we have more rich Latinos, middle-class African Americans, and poor Native Americans at the same time? 

Ideally, yes.  Realistically, no.  The more I look at it, the more I'm convinced that it really is a zero-sum game. 

Why? Because at the end of the day, law schools are watching USNWR -- and numbers are a huge determinant of where their schools will wind up.  You don't get a bonus for having 20% of your class be black intsead of 10%, but unless you're one of the schools the USNWR is using to "prime" the rankings (i.e., HYS), you will get penalized for having your LSAT median drop. (See Boalt.) If they can have their diversity numbers be respectable while getting students with higher scores to enroll, they will.

I think these are good points.  And @#!* if that isn't terribly depressing.  :-\
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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Lily Jaye

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Re: Would AA make you less likely to hire a black lawyer/doctor?
« Reply #255 on: May 13, 2006, 04:03:43 PM »
This is the part I wonder about.  I've noticed that undergrad and law schools tend to be very intellectually lazy in the admissions process, at least compared to the graduate admissions programs I'm familiar with.  Even though what I'm about to say is anecdotal, I've seen that laziness reflected in the makeup of the student bodies.  In all my time in and around Penn and Princeton, I only met two minority from a truly poor background, and they both attended good private schools thanks to parental tuition benefits.  While the minorities were less affluent than whites, I couldn't find anyone from Strawberry Mansion. 

Now, I know it makes sense to hide your background at these schools, but I'm good at spotting the little things.  (Sadly, not House or Veronica Mars level, but "you speak in the passive voice a lot; are you from Kiev?" good.)

I completely agree that admissions committees are intellectually lazy.  I think it might be in part because, unlike elite liberal arts graduate programs, the study of law doesn't require any particular set of skills or interests, or a specific type of preparation, and thus you get a huge number of people applying with very few weeding characteristics and little in common with one another. In combination with the size of most law school classes

I'm not sure this really matters.  At Princeton, some departments get 1,000+ applications for eight or ten spots -- and the individual departments do the selection themselves (i.e., no admissions offices).

This is true.  But I do think that the more specific training requirements and research needs of individual departments and faculty will make some decisions automatic.  He wants to write on Bourne and your American intellectual historian is leaving next year?  Chuck him.  The faculty need research assistance in emerging questions on ultracold atomic physics?   Only a handful of departments could prepare someone for that. Etc. Etc.  Law schools have neither the same investment (research needs) nor the same narrow criteria for admissions.  I do think this makes it difficult.  Not that it's an excuse...

And some decisions in law school are automatic.  However, the most applicants in both divisions fall into the mushy middle.  :-\

Even if you don't have research needs or specific training backgrounds, you can still choose how you want to define success, investigate what your most successful alumns have in common, and use those criteria as the basis for admissions.  If you know exactly what you want and exactly what you're looking for, the entire process is much faster -- and you don't have to rely on a silly, overly vague test that has nothing to do with law school. 

But aside from that, it seems like we agree. :)
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fincavigia

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Re: Would AA make you less likely to hire a black lawyer/doctor?
« Reply #256 on: May 13, 2006, 05:49:51 PM »
According to a paper by Richard Sander, a professor at UCLA Law, affirmative action actually hurts black students by placing them in schools where they are not competitive with the rest of the student body. As evidence he cites that:

-Half of black law students are in the bottom 10% of their class.

-92% of black law students are in the bottom 50% of their class.

-83 percent of whites graduated and passed the bar within five years of entering law school, while only about 58 percent of blacks did.

If this is true, how do you justify allowing people into schools where they are obviously unqualified simply because of their race? I don't see how you can really justify this.

Miss P

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Re: Would AA make you less likely to hire a black lawyer/doctor?
« Reply #257 on: May 13, 2006, 06:19:53 PM »
According to a paper by Richard Sander, a professor at UCLA Law, affirmative action actually hurts black students by placing them in schools where they are not competitive with the rest of the student body. As evidence he cites that:

-Half of black law students are in the bottom 10% of their class.

-92% of black law students are in the bottom 50% of their class.

-83 percent of whites graduated and passed the bar within five years of entering law school, while only about 58 percent of blacks did.

If this is true, how do you justify allowing people into schools where they are obviously unqualified simply because of their race? I don't see how you can really justify this.

This is a very impatient response, and I'm sorry.  But please read  other threads about Sander's study.  People disagree about this, but I believe his methods and conclusion are totally flawed.  This is a good introduction to the responses: http://www.slate.com/id/2117745/
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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philibusters

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Re: Would AA make you less likely to hire a black lawyer/doctor?
« Reply #258 on: May 13, 2006, 08:58:22 PM »
According to a paper by Richard Sander, a professor at UCLA Law, affirmative action actually hurts black students by placing them in schools where they are not competitive with the rest of the student body. As evidence he cites that:

-Half of black law students are in the bottom 10% of their class.

-92% of black law students are in the bottom 50% of their class.

-83 percent of whites graduated and passed the bar within five years of entering law school, while only about 58 percent of blacks did.

If this is true, how do you justify allowing people into schools where they are obviously unqualified simply because of their race? I don't see how you can really justify this.

I doubt those numbers hold well at my school at least for my class and msot of the urm's seem as smart as the rest of the class.  There was one hispanic girl (at least I think shes hispanic, she might just be white) and one african american girl in my classes who seem to skip some of the readings, but there are non-urms who do that do (infact depnding on the class, sometimes I don't do some of the readings), but generally they seem to be about avg. in general and I would guess their grade distribution is pretty avg.
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School

John Galt

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Re: Would AA make you less likely to hire a black lawyer/doctor?
« Reply #259 on: May 15, 2006, 09:22:48 AM »
According to a paper by Richard Sander, a professor at UCLA Law, affirmative action actually hurts black students by placing them in schools where they are not competitive with the rest of the student body. As evidence he cites that:

-Half of black law students are in the bottom 10% of their class.

-92% of black law students are in the bottom 50% of their class.

-83 percent of whites graduated and passed the bar within five years of entering law school, while only about 58 percent of blacks did.

If this is true, how do you justify allowing people into schools where they are obviously unqualified simply because of their race? I don't see how you can really justify this.

Sander's study doesn't apply to the top law schools