Michigan's Minority Graduates in Practice: The River Runs Through Law School

157 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2018 Last revised: 24 Apr 2018

See all articles by Richard Lempert

Richard Lempert

University of Michigan Law School

David L. Chambers

University of Michigan Law School

Terry Adams

University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: Spring 2000

Abstract

This paper received the Best Article Award from the American Sociological Association’s section on the Sociology of Law.

Published in 2000, it reports results from a 1997-98 survey that tracked the careers of the University of Michigan Law School's graduates of African American, Latino, Native American heritage in the classes of 1970 through 1996. Their careers are compared to those of a random sample of Michigan Law School's white alumni who graduated during the same years. A substantial majority of the minority students in these classes were admitted with the benefit of affirmative action. We found that whether or not they were minorities almost all members of the cohorts studied graduated, passed a bar exam, and had post-law school careers that were successful by conventional measures.

Moreover, Michigan's minority graduates appear to be no less successful than its white graduates — whether success is measured by the log of current income, self-reported satisfaction, or an index of service contributions. An admissions index that combines LSAT scores and undergraduate grade-point average is a significant predictor of law school grades, but it does not predict career success on any of our three outcome measures. Our approach to analyses anticipated modern conventions regarding the pre-specification of methods and hypotheses as our methods and choice of relationships to investigate were made without having otherwise explored the data. Findings from subsequent sensitivity analyses are clearly indicated and found mainly in footnotes. No relevant results were excluded.

An attached reply to critics answers to questions that were posed about our research, including an analysis that indicates that our results hold even if minority students who might have been admitted to Michigan without affirmative action are excluded from our analyses. Michigan is a highly selective law school. We expect our results will generalize to graduates of law schools of similar status and selectivity, but caution that our results may not generalize to graduates of less selective and prestigious law schools.

A more detailed discussion of our methods and a copy of our questionnaire are located after the article.

Keywords: legal education, affirmative action, lawyer careers, minority law students, African-American law students, law student surveys, lawyer surveys

JEL Classification: K1

Suggested Citation

Lempert, Richard and Chambers, David L. and Adams, Terry, Michigan's Minority Graduates in Practice: The River Runs Through Law School (Spring 2000). Law and Social Inquiry, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2000, U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 594, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3160823

Richard Lempert (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

David L. Chambers

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
802-295-5824 (Phone)

Terry Adams

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

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