Paul L. Caron
Dean


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Caron Presents A Dean's Perspective On Diversity, Socioeconomics, The LSAT, And The U.S. News Law School Rankings Today At SEALS

One of the Legal Ed panels today at the 2019 SEALS Annual Conference in Boca Raton, Florida:

SEALs Logo (2013)Building Bridges: Socioeconomics, the LSAT and U.S. News and World Report Rankings
This panel explores methodologies and programs that will help students from low income and diverse backgrounds have opportunities available to them to attend law school. AALS President Wendy Perdue of the University of Richmond has said: “As our society struggles with this problem of deep polarization, lawyers and law schools have an important role to play. Lawyers, are, after all, in the dispute resolution business. Resolving conflict is central to what we do. And today, perhaps more than ever before, the skills that we as lawyers have, and we as law professors teach, are of critical importance.” In order to resolve these conflicts, we need to make sure that all communities have access to engage in these important conversations. The Before the J.D. Study shows that African American and Hispanic students think about going to law school before going to high school and college. In addition, the study highlights that over 60% of students report the most important advice about going to graduate or professional school comes from a family member or relative. Many students from low-income backgrounds do not have family members who are lawyers and are at a disadvantage in getting advice about going to law school because they may not be encouraged by these close family members or friends. There is still a small percentage of African American and Latino/a attorneys Nationwide 5% of lawyers are African American and 5% are of Hispanic origin. These percentages have remained consistent for almost the past ten years. So many students from these racial and ethnic backgrounds also can’t readily turn to family members or friends for inspiration and advice about going to law school. The ABA reports that the entering class for 2017 has an aggregate African American enrollment of 8.6% and 13.2% for Hispanics. Meanwhile, African Americans consist of approximately 13% and Hispanics approximately 18% of the overall U.S. population. These two racial groups, along with Asian Americans, are on target to be a majority of the U.S. population in the next 30 years. Given the growth trends in these demographic groups, there will be an insufficient percent of lawyers from these groups to meet their (and society’s) legal needs in the next few years. Moreover, some scholars have argued that there is a strong tie between socioeconomics and law schools admissions. There has recently been a very passionate Twitter discussion of this issue on Lawprofblawg. Some believe that the LSAT and U.S. News privileges those from middle- and upper middle-class backgrounds. Others point out the LSAT’s strength in providing an accurate assessment of core skills required for success in law school and that an admission process that correctly uses the LSAT as one factor in a multi-factor holistic admission process is fairest to applicants. Recently, U.S. News attempted to reduce economic privilege in its rankings of undergraduate schools by injecting socio economic factors. The formula now includes indicators meant to measure "social mobility" and drops an acceptance rate measure that benefited schools that turned the most students away. A recent Politico article reported that U.S. News will change its methodology at the college level. This panel consists of experts who examine these issues in terms of the LSAT, U.S. News & World Report law school rankings, and socioeconomic and diversity issues.

  • Leonard Baynes (Dean, Houston), Pre-Law Pipeline Program: We’ve Got The Power
  • Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine), A Dean's Perspective on Diversity, Socioeconomics, the LSAT, and the U.S. News Law School Rankings
  • Victor Quintanilla (Professor & Co-Director, Center for Law, Society & Culture, Indiana), Initial Results on Relationship Between the LSAT, USNWR, SES, and Demographics From the Productive Mindset Intervention Study
  • Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist, U.S. News), Building Bridges: Socioeconomics, the LSAT and U.S. News and World Report Rankings  
  • Kellye Testy (President & CEO, LSAC; former Dean, University of Washington), Adversity and Admission: Tackling “Opportunity to Learn”

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/07/caron-presents-a-deans-perspective-on-diversity-socioeconomics-the-lsat-and-the-us-news-law-school-r.html

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Comments

Much of this makes sense but when exactly (as the argument seems to go) would one need a lawyer of the same race?

Posted by: Anand Desai | Jul 31, 2019 10:45:48 PM