Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rosin: 'Down-Market' Diversity and Bar Passage

Gary S. Rosin (South Texas), "Down Market" Diversity and Bar Passage (The Faculty Lounge):

For law schools near the bottom of the market for law students—those with lower LSAT profiles of entering classes—diversity often means taking minority students at high risk of failing the Bar.

The mean LSAT scores (and standard deviations) of the largest racial and ethnic groups for the 2009-2010 testing year were:

LSAT Testing Year 2009-2010
Means and Standard Deviations, by Ethnicity
Asian/Pacific Islander 152.4 10.74
Black/African-American 142.0 8.74
Hispanic/Latino 146.4 9.65
White/Caucasian 152.9 9.33

One would expect that the schools with highest LSAT profiles would enroll minority students with the highest LSATs. As schools above them take the higher-LSAT students, law schools with lower LSAT profiles would only be able to enroll minority students with increasingly lower LSAT scores. As discussed in The LSAT- free Illusion, those students are at increasingly higher risk of failing the Bar. ...

Law schools at the bottom of the market for law students must often choose between diversity and maintaining Bar passage rates by trying to raise the LSAT scores of entering students. Here the first clause of Standard 212 comes into play: the commitment to diversity must be “[c]onsistent with sound legal education policy and the Standards”.

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Clearly, the LSAT, law school and the bar are inherently biased, and must be swapped out in favor of some less biased system that is not so clearly weighted against minority students. Er, non-Asian minority students, that is.

Posted by: Joe Blow | May 26, 2011 1:40:23 AM

This is just more proof of why affirmative action at the graduate school level is an awful policy. I refer not to a hypothetical minor edge or tie-breaker given to minorities, but to the massive differential between credentials that exists in reality, as evidenced by these numbers.

If you want to help minorities succeed, you need to intervene earlier in the educational process. Admitting (or promoting once in the workplace) under-qualified people simply sets them up for failure and breeds resentment. I believe Clarence Thomas refers to this as the stigma of AA.

However I guess the rest of us should thank them for soaking up all the low grades...

Posted by: Todd | May 25, 2011 8:20:16 PM

Actually, it's about 89%, so that about one in 9 blacks do as well as the average white.

Posted by: krb | May 25, 2011 6:32:21 PM

Wow. Unfortunately, if I remember my statistics correctly, the above data indicate that approximately 80% of all Black/African Americans score lower than the average White/Caucasian. Hispanics don't do much better. Those are stunning statistics.

Posted by: TLP | May 25, 2011 4:51:17 PM