Affirmative Action in American Law Schools
Gail L. Heriot
University of San Diego School of Law
July, 16 2008
Journal of Contemporary Legal issues, Vol. 17, 2008
San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 08-041
The United States Commission on Civil Rights recently held a briefing entitled, "Affirmative Action in American Law Schools" at which witnesses with differing perspectives discussed troubling evidence that race-based affirmative action policies may have harmed rather than helped minority students who aspire to become attorneys. In the report the Commission later issued, it took no position on whether this evidence was sufficient to recommend that these policies be discontinued. Instead, it made a number of important recommendations most of which were designed to ensure transparency. Most significantly, the Commission recommended that each law school inform its prospective students (minority or otherwise) of the probability that they will ultimately graduate from that institution and pass the bar given their individual entering academic credentials. Those students could then decide for themselves which law school will best serve their needs. The Commission also recommended that the American Bar Association Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar refrain from setting a uniform diversity policy for law schools. Under the Commission's vision, the discretion to formulate diversity policy would reside with each law school. The views put forth here are those of one member of the Commission in connection with that report.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 45
Keywords: affirmative action, Commission on Civil Rights, Law Schools, Student Admissions, Diversity
JEL Classification: K00, K10
Date posted: July 22, 2008
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