Towards a Sociology of Law School Admissions
34 Journal of Legal Education 374 (1984)
12 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2014
Date Written: September 24, 2014
The primary function of the admissions process is to select the "best" candidates; it is hardly surprising, therefore, that the process produces a group of students who represent an elite in terms of prior academic accomplishments. What is less often realized, however, is that a broad range of social and personal characteristics are highly correlated with academic achievement and the other criteria used to measure excellence. As a result, in selecting what are understood to be the best students, the admissions process is also-sometimes directly and purposefully, sometimes indirectly and unknowingly-playing a major role in determining such matters as the social class origins and ethnic composition of the bar and perhaps also the types of nonlegal skills lawyers will have. Of course, I make this assertion realizing full well that the admissions process does not determine who will become a lawyer, or even who will go to law school; it determines only who will have the opportunity to attend. Law school admission is but the first of several hurdles. But it is a critical one.
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