Recognizing Another Black Barrier: The LSAT Contributes to the Diversity Gap in the Legal Profession

17 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2021

Date Written: April 9, 2021

Abstract

Imagine working your entire life with the purpose of building the house of your dreams. The ability to pursue this “calling” has been granted through your tremendous hard-work and dedication to your craft. In fact, building this dream home has been the final culmination of all that you have worked towards over the past several years. Now imagine, you have successfully built the foundation of the house, and began to lay the pipeline for the plumbing. Just as the plumbing was coming together, there was one exact piece that was missing, a coupling, which would be required to connect the pipes. Since pipelines are the heartbeat of all functionality within a house, without the coupling, the incomplete plumbing may diminish the potential of all that your dream house was meant to become. Thus, hindering the dream.

Similarly to a person that has a dream of becoming a lawyer. The ability to pursue this calling would be directed through the education pipeline. After obtaining an Undergraduate degree through tremendous amount of hard-work and dedication, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), a coupling to the next education pipeline, is required for applicants to take when applying to law school. But, what if the LSAT is a faulty coupling that presents a major leak in the education pipeline? This standardize test has revealed years of racial bias from the disturbing score gaps between white and minority applicants. The LSAT has shown to have test biases within the questions that appear in the form of language interpretation, which contains culturally stereotypic language, situations, and structural components. As a result of these biases, there has been a disproportionate amount of lower scores by minorities, which hinders the chances of being accepted into law school. Thus, presenting a leak in the education pipeline that disconnects minorities from achieving their dreams of practicing law.

Because of COVID-19, the Law School Admission Council is offering the LSAT online, remotely proctored in place of being in-person. This unexpected change should bring discussion in today’s society about the overreliance on LSAT performance. Institutions should develop new and equitable means to evaluate an applicant’s ability to do well in law school, without disproportionately excluding minorities. Without admission modifications, minorities will continue to remain at a disadvantage when applying to law school.

Suggested Citation

McDuffie, Shaniqua Lynee McDuffie, Recognizing Another Black Barrier: The LSAT Contributes to the Diversity Gap in the Legal Profession (April 9, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3823292 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3823292

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